Buy-Back Program at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation – June 18 Deadline Approaching for Landowners

Program encourages informed decisionmaking by landowners considering whether to accept a voluntary purchase offer

Last edited 10/16/2019



Date:  June 3, 2019



Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  Photo credit: Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  Photo credit: Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

WASHINGTON – In April 2019, the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations mailed more than $47 million in purchase offers to more than 7,000 owners of fractional land interests at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  Thus far, nearly $9 million in purchase offers have been approved for approximately 1,000 landowners at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. The deadline for landowners to return their voluntary purchase offers is June 18, 2019.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to consolidate fractional interests in trust or restricted land within a 10-year period set to expire in November 2022.  To date, approximately $325 million remain. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership.

“With the offer deadline coming up soon, the Buy-Back Program, its federal partners, and the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck continue to focus on ensuring that landowners are aware of this significant opportunity to receive fair market value payments for their fractional interests,” said Program Director John McClanahan.  “Beyond awareness of the opportunity, the Program’s partnership with the Tribes seeks to provide information to help landowners make the decision that is right for them.  Before deciding whether to sell, landowners should understand their land, consider financial implications, and review their options.”

Various informational tools are available to landowners, who are encouraged to think strategically about their options and carefully consider how to use the funds they receive from selling their land.  The Program’s website includes detailed frequently asked questions and additional information to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.

Landowners also can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians to ask questions about their land or purchase offers and request a copy of the appraisal completed for their land.

This is the Program’s second round of implementation at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  During the initial implementation, the Program consolidated more than 218,000 equivalent acres on over 44,500 fractional interests, increasing tribal ownership in 3,204 tracts and achieving 100 percent tribal ownership in 132 tracts.

As with the prior round of implementation, the Program has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes to guide implementation at the Reservation.   To date, the Department of the Interior has entered into agreements with 51 tribal nations to cooperatively implement the Buy-Back Program.  The agreements outline coordinated strategies to facilitate education about the Program to landowners but are unique based on particular circumstances at each location.

Returning fractionated lands to tribes in trust has the potential to improve tribal community resources by increasing home site locations, improving transportation routes, spurring economic development, easing approval for infrastructure and community projects, and preserving traditional cultural or ceremonial sites.


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