Landowners with Fractional Interests at Omaha and Winnebago Indian Reservations Receive Land Buy-Back Program Offers

Interested sellers have 45 days to respond to offers.

Last edited 09/01/2020

Date: May 22, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior today announced that more than 5,100 landowners with fractional interests at the Omaha and Winnebago Indian Reservations in Nebraska have been sent purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust from willing sellers at fair market value.

Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than $1.1 billion has been paid to landowners, over 691,000 fractional interests have been consolidated, and the equivalent of nearly 2.1 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments.

Interests consolidated through the Program are restored to tribal trust ownership. Tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in more than 13,600 tracts of land, strengthening tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

“The goal of the Buy-Back Program is to consolidate fractional interests, which facilitates more effective land use and trust management,” said Program Director John McClanahan. “This Program is making a significant difference for tribal communities, such as securing land for critical infrastructure projects. We look forward to improving opportunities for these locations through the Program, recognizing that both Omaha and Winnebago have a significant number of fractional interests.”

Landowners Must Respond Soon. Landowners have 45 days to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. Offers are also currently outstanding for landowners with fractional land interests at:

  • Yakama – deadline June 19, 2017
  • Winnebago – deadline July 3, 2017
  • Omaha – deadline July 7, 2017

Tribal Feedback Requested by May 31, 2017. In a Federal Register notice published in April 2017, the Program announced that new Departmental leadership is taking a fresh look at progress to date and strategies that would further maximize the consolidation of fractional interests, such as: further sharing of appraisals, focusing on land value, interest size (e.g., less than 25% ownership in a tract), and tract control; facilitating co-owner purchases; or revising the schedule of 105 locations (e.g., adding or removing locations and/or returning to locations that already received offers).

Feedback is requested by May 31, 2017, regarding such strategies and on:

  1. potential adjustments to locations where implementation may occur, including adding or removing locations and/or returning to locations where purchase offers have already been sent;
  2. the consideration of off-reservation tracts; and
  3. long-term options to address fractionation.

Written feedback may be submitted by email to  or by mail to U.S. Department of the Interior Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, 1849 C Street NW, MS-3543, Washington, DC 20240.

Information Available for Landowners. It is important that landowners think strategically about how to use the funds they receive from selling their land. More information is available.

Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) to ask questions about their land or purchase offers, and learn about financial planning resources. More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available at to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.


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