A presentation by the Piikani Money Campaign on the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. Photo: Piikani Money Campaign
Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Piikani Money Campaign educates Blackfeet Nation citizens about Cobell payouts





The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations brought more than $156 million to the Blackfeet Nation, with additional offers anticipated as the initiative winds down during the Trump administration.

To address the influx of funds, a group of organizations launched the Piikani Money Campaign. Landowners who accepted offers from the program were educated about financial planning, banking, fraud and other issues.

"We wanted people to be a little wiser with their money," Angie Main, the executive director of Native American Community Development Corporation Financial Services, which led the campaign, told Montana Public Radio.

The Land Buy-Back Program is expected to return to the reservation as the Trump administration focuses on ways to consolidate as many fractional interests as possible with the funds remaining in the account. Less than $540 million remains after about $1.2 billion was expended during the Obama era, the Department of the Interior announced in July.

Owners of fractional interests are paid "fair market value" for their properties, which are then transferred to tribal governments, the original owners of the land. As of September 8, tribes have reclaimed the equivalent of 2.13 million acres, according to Interior.

The Land Buy-Back Program was funded with $1.9 billion as part of the $3.4 billion settlement to the Cobell trust fund lawsuit. The settlement, which became law in 2010, anticipated the program would run for 10 years.

The settlement allowed Interior to take an administrative cut of 15 percent, or about $285 million, to carry out the program.

Read More on the Story:
'Just Don't Blow It': Campaign Helps Blackfeet Manage Land Buyback Payouts (Montana Public Radio September 11, 2017)

Department of the Interior Report:
2016 Status Report: Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (November 2016)

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