Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
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).
Interested in Program Participation?
Landowners who are interested in receiving an offer through the Buy-Back Program 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:
Fond du Lac Reservation -- June 20, 2016
Round Valley Indian Reservation -- June 24, 2016
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. After a completed purchase package is received by the Buy-Back Program by the established deadline, staff will process the payment within 60 days.
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 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.