Federal Register Notice: Interior Updating Systems of Records Notices to Facilitate Information Sharing with Tribes Implementing the Land Buy-Back Program

Last edited 09/05/2019

In a Federal Register notice published today, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced that it is updating the existing system of record notices (SORNs). The notice and information on how to submit comments are available at: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/11/14/2014-27033/privacy-act-of-1974-as-amended-notice-to-amend-an-existing-system-of-records. A similar notice from the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) is expected to be published later this month. (Update: The OST notice is available at: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/01/08/2015-00038/privacy-act-of-1974-as-amended-notice-to-amend-an-existing-system-of-records.)

The updated SORN, which concerns BIA trust fund and trust land related systems with individual information, will make it easier to exchange information with tribal governments working to help implement land consolidation activities in cooperation with the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). This effort responds to comments during government-to-government consultations, presentations, and the Program's recent Listening Session hosted by Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, in which tribal representatives have expressed a need for greater and simpler access to landowner information to effectively conduct outreach and land consolidation activities for the Program.

The records contained in these systems are safeguarded in accordance with federal regulations, and other applicable security rules and policies. Access to records in the systems is limited to authorized personnel who have a need to access the records in the performance of their official duties, and each user's access is restricted to only the functions and data necessary to perform that person's job responsibilities. BIA will continue to ensure the handling of personal information is consistent with all government-wide and agency policies.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value within a 10-year period. Individuals who choose to sell their interests will receive payments directly into their IIM accounts. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.

Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 with questions about the Program, visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) office, or find more information at: www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/FAQ.

(This is an update to the release that was issued on November 14, 2014.)

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