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

Interested sellers have 60 days to respond to offers.


Last edited 10/16/2019



Date:  March 7, 2019



WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced today that more than 3,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota have been sent more than $35 million in purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. 


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 $354 million remain. 


“The Buy-Back Program is excited to be working with the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation to consolidate land and provide opportunities for the community at the Fort Berthold Reservation,” said Program Director John McClanahan. “The cooperative agreement between the Three Affiliated Tribes and the Program to conduct outreach will ensure that the Tribe’s expertise and knowledge are leveraged for maximum impact.  We will continue to work together to ensure that landowners are aware of this unique opportunity and understand their options and the resources available to make an informed decision.”


Landowners with fractional interests at the Fort Berthold Reservation have until April 15, 2019, to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided.  Interests consolidated through the Buy-Back Program are restored to tribal trust ownership.  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.


Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than 838,000 fractional interests have been transferred to tribal governments, which represents 34 percent of the total fractional interests in 2013 at the 51 locations where Program implementation has occurred and the equivalent of 2.4 million acres of land.  As a result of the Buy-Back Program, tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in 15,800 more tracts of land (representing an increase of approximately 130 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.  The Program’s website includes detailedfrequently 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.   


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