The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (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 a 10-year period. There are almost 245,000 owners of nearly three million fractional interests, spanning 150 Indian reservations, who are eligible to participate.

Participation in the Buy-Back Program is voluntary. 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. Consolidated interests are then immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.

Some owners have already received more than $100,000 for their interests (offer amounts vary based on the particular interests held).

Planning Initiative

The Program has announced more than 40 locations where implementation will begin by the middle of 2017, and will continue to apply lessons learned from each experience. In November 2015, the Buy-Back Program announced a Planning Initiative to assist in the development of its next implementation schedule for 2017 and beyond. The two-pronged Planning Initiative seeks input from tribal governments and landowners who are interested in participating in the Program.  The deadline to impact scheduling is March 11, 2016. Landowners may continue to register their interest after the deadline, but it will not be considered for implementation scheduling.

When the Buy-Back Program evaluates locations for implementation, one factor among others that is considered is the number of landowners at the location who have registered as willing sellers. Landowners are encouraged to visit or call the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) office nearest them or contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 to: (a) learn more about the Buy-Back Program and their fractional interests; (b) update their contact information, if necessary; and (c) register as a willing seller, if interested. Registration in no way commits a landowner to sell – nor does it guarantee that a landowner will receive an offer – it is simply the best way to ensure the Buy-Back Program is aware of their interest.

Offer Deadlines Approaching -- Owners Must Respond Soon!

Offers are currently outstanding for landowners with fractional land interests at:

  • Swinomish Indian Reservation -- December 11, 2015
  • Lummi Indian Reservation -- December 31, 2015
  • Fort Peck Indian Reservation -- December 31, 2015
  • Umatilla Indian Reservation -- January 7, 2016

After a completed purchase package is received by the Buy-Back Program by the established deadline, staff will process the payment within 60 days. 

Purchase offers are valid for 45 calendar days from the date of the Cover Letter that is included in the Offer Package provided to owners.

Staff Ready to Answer Questions

Landowners do not need to wait until the Buy-Back Program begins implementation to get more information. Please review the Program's frequently asked questions and become familiar with the Offer Packet Documents, available here.

In addition, landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 with questions about their purchase offers, visit their local OST office, or contact their tribe's staff working with the Buy-Back Program.