Nearly 900 Landowners with Fractional Interests at Lummi Indian Reservation Receive $4 Million in Purchase Offers

Interested Sellers Have 45 Days to Respond in Voluntary Land Buy-Back Program

Last edited 02/27/2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor today announced that more than $4 million in purchase offers have been sent to nearly 900 landowners with fractional interests at the Lummi Indian Reservation in Washington state as part of the Land Buy Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program)Interested sellers have 45 days – until December 31, 2015 – to return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided. 

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 Program recently released its 2015 Status Report, which summarizes its implementation to date and significant economic impact in Indian Country. Since 2013, the Program has paid more than $720 million to individual landowners and restored the equivalent of nearly 1.5 million acres of land to tribal governments.

“I am encouraged by the momentum that we continue to see across Indian Country as the Department works with tribal nations to ensure that landowners receive quick, reliable information about their chance to participate in this historic opportunity to restore Indian lands,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “Payments through Program sales are already making a significant difference for individuals, families and their communities.”

Tracts identified for purchase reflect priorities for the Lummi Nation, which hopes to consolidate land in support of the Lummi Nation Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank. A functioning mitigation bank will support housing, economic and municipal development of Reservation lands and nearby areas. 

Offers are also pending for landowners with fractional interests at the Swinomish Indian Reservation, also in Washington. The deadline to accept those offers is December 11, 2015.

There are approximately 245,000 owners of nearly three million fractional interests across Indian Country who are eligible to participate in the Buy-Back Program. Many 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. 

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.

It is important that landowners 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:  

The Program recently announced a two-pronged Planning Initiative to help determine its next implementation schedule for 2017 and beyond. The first part seeks input from tribal governments who are interested in participating in the Program. Eligible tribal governments not already scheduled for implementation are invited to formally indicate their interest in participating in the Program no later than March 11, 2016.

The second part is a nationwide recruitment drive to further identify and engage landowners who are interested in learning more about this opportunity. 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 Program is aware of their interest.

More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available at to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.


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