More than 20,000 Landowners with Fractional Interests at Navajo Nation to Receive Land Buy-Back Program Offers

Interested Sellers Have 45 Days to Respond in Voluntary Program Working to Strengthen Tribal Communities

Last edited 09/22/2021

WASHINGTON – After several months of government-to-government coordination, Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor today announced that more than 20,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Navajo Nation will receive purchase offers as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program).

Already, more than $56 million in purchase offers have been sent to more than 5,500 owners of Navajo lands. Landowners who received a purchase offer with a cover letter date of June 1, 2016, have 45 days or until July 16, 2016, to return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. Additional offers are expected to be sent later this month with a later due date.

“Our work with the Navajo Nation and Eastern Navajo Land Commission has been critical to preparing for this unprecedented number of offers,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “The vastness of the Navajo Nation and the number of native speakers has made close coordination with staff and the tribe especially important. We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that landowners have the information they need to make informed decisions when reviewing their purchase offers.”

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. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members. 

The Buy-Back Program recently announced a schedule expansion that brings the number of locations planned for the Program to 105, a total that includes more than 96 percent of all landowners with fractionated interests and more than 98 percent of both purchasable fractional interests and equivalent acres in Program-eligible areas. About 245,000 landowners hold nearly three million fractional interests across Indian Country.

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

Landowners are encouraged to 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. More information is available at: . 

Currently, more than 1,150 landowners who have valid offers for fractional interests at the Navajo Nation are whereabouts unknown (WAU) or have no address on file. Some WAU offers exceed $100,000. Individuals are encouraged to help identify individuals whose whereabouts are unknown and/or update their contact information by calling the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836.

Several dozen events will take place across the Navajo Nation for landowners who have received purchase offers. Native speakers will also in attendance to assist as needed. The events calendar can be viewed here .

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 .



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