Buy-Back Program Sends Offers to Landowners with Fractional Interests at the Crow Reservation

Interested sellers have 60 days to respond to offers

Last edited 04/30/2019

Date: December 20, 2018



Pryor Mountains, Crow Reservation.  Photo credit:  Ty Ten Bear.

WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced today that nearly 4,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Crow Reservation in Montana have been sent more than $177 million in purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. 

“The Buy-Back Program appreciates the Crow landowners’ and the Tribe’s deep connection to their land, which they have fought to protect through many generations, and we are committed to providing landowners with information that they can use to make an informed decision about their purchase offer,” said Program Director John McClanahan. “The Buy-Back Program’s initial implementation at the Crow Reservation in 2014 resulted in the consolidation and transfer to tribal trust ownership of more than 197,200 equivalent acres with potential surface use, such as farming, more than 46,500 equivalent acres with subsurface rights, and one of the highest offer acceptance rates.  The offers announced today are a tremendous opportunity to benefit Crow landowners and the tribal community for years to come.”

Landowners with fractional interests at the Crow Reservation have until February 11, 2019, to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided.  Offers for landowners with fractional land interests at the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation have a return-by date of January 14, 2019.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of theCobell 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 $438 million remain. 

Interests consolidated through the Program are restored to tribal trust ownership. Returning fractionated lands to tribes in trust has enormous 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.

Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than 795,000 fractional interests have been transferred to tribal government, which represents 34percent of the total fractional interests in 2013 at the 49 locations where Program implementation has occurred and the equivalent of 2.2 million acres of land.  As a result of the Buy-Back Program, tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in 15,100 more tracts of land (representing an increase of approximately 126 percent for the locations where implementation has occurred), facilitating the exercise of tribal sovereignty and self-determination. 

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.  Detailed frequently asked questions are available 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.   


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