Getting Prepared

The Buy-Back Program respects and upholds Tribal sovereignty. The Program strives to tailor efforts to each location based on Tribal involvement and priorities. The below organizes steps Tribes can take to prepare for the Program by relevant phase.

General Steps for Tribal Leaders

There are several things that Tribal leaders can do to prepare for the Program, including:

  • Review Program website content (especially the Organizing Principles page and the Program Phases pages). The FAQs provide detailed information on Program operations and policies.
  • Establish a Tribal task force or team to plan for land consolidation. Designate an authorized Tribal point of contact.
  • Become familiar with the four land consolidation phases below: Outreach, Land Research, Valuation, and Acquisition.
  • Review information on memorandums of agreement provided by the Program’s Tribal Relations Advisors (TRAs) to determine if the Tribe would like to formerly partner with the Program to actively participate in the land consolidation process.
  • Provide information to the Program about the Tribe’s land consolidation programs and current capacities, including any plans the Tribe might have to utilize Program tools – such as appraisals and mapping – to direct its own resources to reduce fractionation and manage Tribal land. (DOI recognizes that some Tribes have pursued land consolidation activities for many years).

​1. Outreach

Outreach refers to the continuous process of communicating with landowners regarding the potential opportunity to sell their fractional interests and to help them understand their options. Tribes can support landowners by:

  • Educating landowners about the Program and other options for dealing with fractionated land beyond the Program (e.g., estate planning). General Program outreach materials are available to facilitate this effort.
  • Identifying questions and issues that are frequently raised by landowners and share them with the Program.
  • Encouraging landowners to provide their date of birth and current contact information (e.g., name, address, etc.) by contacting the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 1-888-678-6836.
  • Attending general outreach meetings, webinars, or regional events (list of upcoming events is available for reference).

2. ​Land Research

Land Research includes the development of data related to mapping and land use, as well as other data necessary to establish fair market value for fractionated tracts. Tribes can assist in the land research process by:

  • Working with the Program to exchange geographic information system (GIS) data to ensure current mapping of reservation lands, which can facilitate identification of priorities and valuation efforts.
  • Determining Tribal priorities (so they may be included in land research and valuation activities to the extent possible).

3. Valuation

Valuation is the process of appraising fractionated tracts to determine fair market value. Tribes are encouraged to be familiar with the valuation process prior to Program Implementation. Tribes can take steps to learn more by:

4. Acquisition

Acquisition is the process of making offers to landowners and, once approved by the Program, transferring the voluntarily sold interests to the Tribes with jurisdiction. Tribes can learn more about the acquisition process by reading about:

  • The Program's approach to acquisitions.
  • The Program’s eligibility criteria for landowners, tracts, and interests.

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