More than $270 Million in Land Buy-Back Program Offers Extended to Landowners with Fractional Interests at Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Interested sellers have 45 days to respond to offers from voluntary Land Buy-Back Program

Last edited 09/01/2020

Date: October 11, 2016

WASHINGTON – Fulfilling Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s commitment during a visit to the Blackfeet Nation in May 2016, Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor today announced that more than $270 million in purchase offers have been generated for nearly 7,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program).

Landowners have 45 days – until January 16, 2017 – to consider and return offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. However, because January 16, 2017 falls on a holiday, landowners will have until January 17, 2017, to return their offer.

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. Interests consolidated through the Program are restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.

“We are proud to work alongside the Blackfeet Nation to take these lasting and substantial steps toward fulfilling President Obama’s goal of strengthening and investing in tribal communities,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “We must continue our government-to-government collaboration to ensure that landowners have the information they need to take advantage of this historic opportunity.”

Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, almost $915 million has been paid to individual landowners and the equivalent of nearly 1.7 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments.

Approximately 243,000 owners of nearly 3 million fractional interests spanning 150 locations across Indian Country are eligible to participate in the Buy-Back Program. Many of these owners 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.

The Buy-Back Program’s implementation schedule includes 105 locations through mid-2021, which reflects more than 96 percent of all landowners with fractional interests and more than 98 percent of both the purchasable fractional interests and equivalent acres in Program-eligible areas. The Program, with funding congressionally authorized through 2022, is managing resources in a manner that ensures that funds will be available at a minimum for these locations.

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

  • Turtle Mountain – December 5, 2016
  • Bad River –  December 15, 2016
  • Osage – December 22, 2016
  • Crow Creek – December 29, 2016
  • Fort Hall – December 30, 2016

Individuals who choose to sell their interests receive payments directly into their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. It is important that landowners think strategically about how to use the funds they receive from selling their land. More information is available at: . 

The Department recently released the Program’s annual Status Report, which highlights the steps taken to date to strengthen tribal sovereignty, consolidate fractional interests, and provide new opportunities to Native American communities

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  to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.


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