Landowners with Fractional Interests at Round Valley Reservation Receive Buy-Back Program Purchase Offers Worth $6 Million

Sellers Have 45 Days to Respond in Voluntary Land Buy-Back Program

Last edited 02/11/2019

Date: May 9, 2016

WASHINGTON– U.S. Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor today announced that 900 landowners with fractional interests at the Round Valley Indian Reservation in California will receive nearly $6 million in purchase offers as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). Recipients have 45 days – until June 24, 2016 – to return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. 

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value within 10 years.

There are approximately 245,000 owners of nearly three million fractional interests across Indian Country who are eligible to participate in the Buy-Back Program. Many see little or no economic benefit from what are often very small, undivided interests in lands that cannot be utilized due to their highly fractionated state. 

“This Program is about putting resources back into Indian Country and keeping land in trust,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “We have an exceptional opportunity before us, and we are committed to working with our tribal partners to ensure that landowners are given every opportunity to make informed decisions about the potential sale of their land at fair market value.”

Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than $740 million has been paid to individual landowners and the equivalent of nearly 1.5 million equivalent acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments.

Individuals who choose to sell their interests receive payments directly into their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. In addition to receiving fair market value for their land based on objective appraisals, sellers also receive a base payment of $75 per offer, regardless of the value of the land.

Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members. Returning fractionated lands to tribes in trust has enormous potential to improve tribal community resources by increasing home site locations, improving transportation routes, spurring tribal economic development, and preserving traditional cultural or ceremonial sites.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell discussed a need for Interior to work with Congress on a longer-term solution to deal with fractionation following the termination of the Land Buy-Back Program, set to expire in 2022.

Secretary Jewell directed the oversight board that manages the Buy-Back Program, led by Deputy Secretary Connor, to undergo a 60 day analysis with the many offices involved in implementation. The board will send options to the Secretary for review to extend the life of the Program so that future participants can benefit and allow the Program to return to locations where implementation has already occurred.

It is important that landowners think strategically about how to use the funds they receive from selling their land. Financial training, including budgeting, investing, and planning for the future, empowers beneficiaries to grow and sustain personal wealth.  

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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