Accept an Offer

Information on how to accept a purchase offer from the Buy-Back Program, including samples of and more information on the offer package contents, is located below. If landowners have questions or would like more information, they should contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center (Call Center) at 1-888-678-6836.

Participation in the Program is voluntary. Landowners who choose to sell some or all of their interests receive payments directly into their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. In addition to receiving fair market value for their land based on objective appraisals, sellers will also receive a base payment of $75 per offer. Interests sold are immediately transferred to Tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and Tribal members.

Purchase offers are valid for at least 45 calendar days from the date of the cover letter that is included in the offer package provided to landowners. The Program's acceptance of returned offer packages is contingent on the availability of funding, meaning the approval of offers and subsequent payments to landowners is not guaranteed.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs Acquisition Center (BIA AC) will process and approve complete returned offer package documents, if funds are available, within 60 days from the return-by date. If the sale can be approved and processed, an Acknowledgement Notice will be sent confirming the transaction is complete and the total payment amount deposited into the landowner's IIM account. If the sale cannot be approved, the landowner will be notified and retain ownership of their relevant interests. 

Landowners submitting offers should refrain from making financial or other related decisions until they receive an acknowledgement notice confirming or declining the sale of their fractional interest(s).

Purchase Offer Package Documents

Each offer package contains the following documents. The list below contains links to sample documents and a summary of important information and/or instructions for each part of the offer package.

  1. Cover Letter
    1. The cover letter summarizes what landowners will find in the rest of the offer package, and contains several key dates and terms of the sale.
    2. Landowners have at least 45 calendar days from the cover letter date to return the documents; the cover letter date and return-by date are both noted in the cover letter.
    3. Landowners will receive a total offer amount (fair market value) for the interests he or she chooses to sell in addition to a base payment of $75; the total fair market value of all interests included in the offer is noted in the cover letter.
  2. Instructions
    1. Landowners should follow the instructions carefully to successfully complete their offer packages. Errors may delay or prevent processing of the sale.
      1. Landowners should read all instructions before completing any documents.
      2. Landowners should not sign the Deed unless in the presence of a notary.
      3. Landowners should not mark or alter bar code at bottom of page(s).
      4. Landowners should not use white out or make corrections on Inventory or Deed.
      5. Landowners should use black or blue ink to mark their selections.
      6. Landowners should sign their name EXACTLY as it is typed on the Deed, or if necessary and as soon as possible, update their IIM account name with the Call Center or the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA) and obtain new offer documents.
  3. Exhibit A: Purchasable Interests Inventory (Inventory)
    1. This two-part document identifies the interests the Buy-Back Program is offering to purchase from the landowner, provides legal descriptions, fair market values, and other tract information. Landowners should be aware that the Inventory may not contain all interests that they own.
    2. Landowners should use black or blue ink to fill in the circles next to the interests they wish to sell.
    3. Landowners should return both parts (Detail and Summary) of the Inventory (all pages with a bar code at the bottom).
    4. For more information see the Program’s Inventory Guide.
  4. Deed 
    1. This page is a legal document indicating that the landowner agrees to convey interests selected on the inventory to the Tribe.  
    2. Landowners should verify the name, date of birth, and address are correct on the Deed.
      1. If incorrect, the landowner should update their IIM account information and obtain a new offer package. Landowners should contact the Call Center at 1-888-678-6836, visit a local BTFA Office, or visit a local BIA Agency as soon as possible to update information and request a new offer package.
      2. Note: Reprints are available for a limited period of time beginning 5 business days after the cover letter date, and ending 5 business days before the return-by date.
    3. Landowners must sign the Deed in front of a notary.
      1. Notary services are offered at outreach events and at local BTFA Offices and BIA Agencies.
      2. The notary will require the landowner’s valid ID.
    4. Landowners should consider making a copy of the Deed for their records.
    5. Landowners should return all original pages with bar codes at the bottom.
      1. Once the documents are completed and notarized, return them in the pre-paid return mail envelope that is included in the offer package.  
      2. For added assurance and security, landowners may choose to return their documents via the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) with tracking. If landowners choose this option, the mailing address should not include the last four digits of the zip code – 9900 – that is listed on the pre-paid return mail envelope. 
      3. If a landowner loses their pre-paid return envelope, the offer package can be returned in a large envelope (also referred to as "flat mail" by the USPS) to:
                            LAND BUY-BACK PROGRAM FOR TRIBAL NATIONS
                           14800 LANDMARK BLVD STE 300
                           DALLAS, TX 75254

    6. For more information, see: How to Complete the Buy-Back Program Deed.

  5. Map(s) – Maps are provided for each tract included in the offer to help landowners determine where tracts are located. See an example map.
  6. Self-Addressed Return Envelope – Landowners can return their completed offer package documents free of charge in these envelopes.
After the sale is approved and processed, an Acknowledgement Notice will be sent confirming the transaction. Landowners can also request an Exhibit B: Approval of Conveyance and a Conveyed Interests Report at any BTFA Office or BIA Agency.

The Buy-Back Program partnered with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation to create the following two documents, which explain the background of the Program, offer documents, and the appraisals and valuation process.

For more guidance on how to complete the offer package, landowners should contact the Call Center at 1-888-678-6836.

What is the Land Buy-Back Program?


Hau. Yá'át'ééh. Osiyo. Aniin. Hello.
Thank you for your interest in learning more about the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.
This is a time sensitive, unique opportunity for owners of fractional land interests to receive fair market value for their land, and to strengthen tribal sovereignty across Indian County.
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 10 years. 
Land fractionation is a serious problem in Indian country.
As individual allotted tracts of tribal land are passed down through generations, they gain more and more owners. In fact, many allotments now have hundreds and even thousands of individual owners. Many tracts have more owners than acres. 
Because it is difficult to gain landowner consensus for how to use the land, allotments often lie idle and can’t be used for any beneficial purpose.
This Program – created in partnership with the Cobell plaintiffs – works to remedy this issue, caused by years of now repudiated federal policies.
It will help stop the loss of Indian lands by transferring those interests to the tribe, forever preventing further fractionation.
Land consolidation also increases the ability of tribal governments to make decisions about the land for the benefit of their people, and frees up resources that have been locked up as land interests have fractionated exponentially over time.
The Buy-Back Program works in partnership with tribes to ensure that eligible landowners are aware of their opportunity to sell their fractionated lands. 
Those who choose to sell receive fair market value for their land interests, plus $75 per offer packet to compensate sellers for their time and effort. 
Fair market value determinations for the Program are performed by a licensed appraiser. The fair market value of a landowner’s interest is that appraiser's estimate of what it would sell for in an open and competitive market and what a buyer might pay in the current market. Program appraisals are good for nine months after they are completed.
Sale proceeds are deposited directly into a landowner’s Individual Indian Money – or IIM – account.
Upon sale, the fractionated land interests are immediately transferred in trust directly to the tribe that has jurisdiction, preventing further fractionation. 
The tribe can then use this land to benefit its community; for example, to build homes, community centers or businesses, or for cultural or environmental preservation.
As the Buy-Back Program works with tribes to address the issue of fractionation, there are several factors that guide its implementation.
It is a priority for the Program that landowners receive adequate information in order to make informed decisions about the use of their land. This occurs well before a landowner considers his or her purchase offer, which is only valid for 45 days. 
Making informed decisions occurs through various means, including:

Understanding your land. This involves encouraging landowners to study the Individual Trust Interest or ITI Report that includes a description of the land location; ownership type such as, surface, mineral, or both; and tract ID information.

Reviewing all the options. For example, owners may want to consider: writing a will to leave all of their interests to an heir or the tribe; gifting interests to an heir or tribe; selling or buying interests to or from co-owners; exchanging their interests with the tribe; or creating a joint tenancy for their interests by will or deed. 

Considering the financial implications from a potential sale. It is important that landowners think strategically about whether or not to sell their land, and if so, how to use the funds they receive. Financial training, including budgeting, investing, and planning for the future, empowers beneficiaries to grow and sustain personal wealth. Landowners interested in learning more about financial awareness may contact the Call Center, their local Fiduciary Trust Officer, work with one of OST’s many partner organizations that provide financial education, or visit the OST website supporting financial empowerment. 
By tailoring the Program to the tribal goals and priorities at each location, we are upholding and respecting tribal sovereignty and self-determination.  The Program shows how trust and partnership with tribal nations are effective forces of positive change.  
Per the Cobell Agreement, any amounts not used by the Program by November 2022 must be returned to the U.S. Treasury. Because of this, we must work together to ensure that the Program is efficiently carried out at each location. That means maximizing our implementation time, ensuring adequate outreach before purchase offers are extended so that landowners may make informed decisions, and striving to generate a single wave of purchase offers to the largest amount of eligible landowners possible. 
There are four major phases of the Buy-Back Program. Each of these involve a team of dedicated Interior Department employees working in partnership with tribal land staff to ensure Program success.
Number 1: Outreach to inform landowners about the Buy-Back Program; answer questions; find and identify interested sellers; and collaborate with tribes to implement culturally-specific approaches. 
Number 2: Land Research to collect the data necessary to establish fair market value for fractionated tracts that might be acquired.
Number 3: Land Valuation to determine the fair market value of tracts where the Program will offer to buy fractional interests.
Number 4: Land Acquisition to purchase interests in fractionated tracts valued in the land valuation phase that individuals would like to voluntarily sell. 
Landowners may can choose to sell all, some, or none of the fractionated interests in the purchase offer received during the Land Acquisition phase.
You should not wait until the Buy-Back Program begins implementation at a location where you own fractional interests to get more information.  
Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center or visit a local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians to update contact information, ask questions about land or request assistance with purchase offers, and learn about financial planning resources.
The tribe may have already assembled a team focused on landowner outreach and financial awareness. Often times, this is the best place to go for translation assistance and to gain an understanding of how the tribe intends to use consolidated land. The Call Center will be able to help identify those resources if they are available. 
If you are interested in potentially receiving and considering an offer if the Program comes to a location where you have land interests, you can register as a willing seller with the Call Center. This in no way commits you to sell your land – nor does it guarantee that you will receive an offer. It is simply the best way to ensure that the Program is aware of your interest and provides an opportunity for advance outreach and information to be shared at the earliest possible date. 
More information and detailed frequently asked questions are also available at the Program’s to help individuals gather more information to make informed decisions about their land. 
Thank you for your time and interest in the Buy-Back Program. Only by working together will we achieve success for generations to come. 

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