Nearly 3,600 Landowners with Fractional Interests at Yakama Indian Reservation Receive Land Buy-Back Program Offers

Interested sellers have 45 days to respond to offers 

Last edited 09/01/2020

Date: April 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior today announced that nearly 3,600 landowners with fractional interests at the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington have been sent purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). 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.

Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than $1.1 billion has been paid to landowners, nearly 680,000 fractional interests have been consolidated (a 23 percent reduction), and the equivalent of nearly 2.1 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments. Tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in more than 13,500 tracts of land, allowing for more efficient and effective use of the land for the benefit of tribal communities.

“The Buy-Back Program’s primary goal is to consolidate fractional interests, and the Yakama Nation has the largest number of fractional interests in the Northwest Region,” said Program Director John McClanahan. “This Program is making a significant difference for tribal communities, and it is facilitating more effective land management. We will continue to provide landowners with prompt and reliable information about their land to help them make informed decisions.”

Yakama landowners have 45 days – until June 19, 2017 – to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. Offers are also currently outstanding for landowners with fractional land interests at:

  • Gila River -- May 4, 2017

The Department recently disseminated 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.

Tomorrow, Interior will hold its fourth annual Listening Session from 1-5pm PT at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, WA, to hear directly from tribal leaders and individual landowners on the progress of the Buy-Back Program. In a Federal Register notice published earlier this month, the Program highlighted areas where feedback is particularly requested regarding: 

  1. potential adjustments to locations where implementation may occur, including adding or removing locations and/or returning to locations where purchase offers have already been sent;
  2. the consideration of off-reservation tracts; and
  3. long-term options to address fractionation.

For those who cannot attend this year’s Listening Session, written feedback may be submitted by email to or by mail to U.S. Department of the Interior Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, 1849 C Street NW, MS-3543, Washington, DC 20240. While the Program welcomes ongoing feedback, comments received by May 31, 2017, will be most helpful.

There are approximately 243,000 owners of about 2.9 million fractional interests spanning 150 locations across Indian Country. 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

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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