Landowners with Fractional Interests at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Receive Buy-Back Program Offers

Interested sellers have 60 days to respond to offers

Last edited 04/30/2019

Date: June 19, 2018


WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced today that more than 2,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon have been sent 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.

As a result of the Buy-Back Program, tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in more than 27,000 tracts of land (representing an increase of approximately 120 percent for the locations where implementation has occurred), strengthening tribal sovereignty and self-determination.  Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than 762,000 fractional interests and the equivalent of nearly 2.2 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments.  To date, the Program has made nearly 240,000 offers to Indian landowners.

“The Buy-Back Program provides a range of benefits – to landowners, to tribal nations, and to local communities,” said Program Director John McClanahan.  “Landowners receive fair market value payments for voluntarily transferring their interests, which are immediately held in trust for the Tribe, preventing further fractionation.  In addition, the strong communication and cooperation among various Interior and UmatillaTribal staff has produced greater opportunities and new resources for landowners.  Their efforts to share appraisal information for possible co-owner purchases represent a positive step toward leveraging the Program’s funding to achieve the Settlement’s goal of consolidating fractionated land.”

"The Umatilla Tribe is pleased to be working again with the Buy-Back Program to achieve our mutual goals,”said Bill Tovey, the Umatilla Tribes’ Director of Economic and Community Development.  “In anticipation of the Buy-Back Program's implementation and appraisals, the Umatilla Tribe has partnered with the Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) to make available loans funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to individual Umatilla members who want to obtain a controlling interest within their allotments for farming or ranching operations.  The collaborative efforts involving the Umatilla Tribe, ILCC, and the Buy-Back Program demonstrate a multi-pronged approach to addressing fractionation at Umatilla."

Landowners with fractional interests at the Umatilla Indian Reservation have until August 14, 2018, to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided.   

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 at  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, request a copy of the appraisal completed for their land, and learn about financial planning.   

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