Meet the Land Buy-Back Program Advisors Dedicated to Tribal Relations

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) works closely with tribes to efficiently and effectively achieve tribal land consolidation goals. It is critical that the Buy-Back Program and tribal leaders work together to ensure that landowners are made aware of the opportunity to sell their interests for the benefit of tribal communities.

We have a small team of advisors dedicated to tribal relations who are committed to working closely and collaboratively with tribal governments to provide planning information and guide implementation on each reservation in accordance with a location's unique needs and priorities:

Josh Edelstein joins the Buy-Back Program after nearly eight years with the Department of the Interior's Office of the Solicitor, Indian Trust Litigation Office & Division of Indian Affairs. In the Office of the Solicitor, Mr. Edelstein served as the point of contact and lead attorney for the Buy-Back Program, and was responsible for legal work and counsel for the implementation of the Program, including the development of the template used to negotiate and enter into cooperative agreements with tribal governments. Before joining Interior, Mr. Edelstein practiced law as an Associate at Krooth & Altman, LLP, in Washington, DC, and at Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander, PA, in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Edelstein received a Bachelor of Arts at Bowdoin College, a Masters of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Genevieve L. Giaccardo, also known as “GG,” began her federal career in the immediate office of the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) in 2011 as a Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Special Trustee, after having worked in Indian Country for over 15 years. She has contributed to tribal relations and consultation plans for various Departmental special projects, most notably the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Trust Administration System (TAS) Assessment for the Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform, and most recently, directly supported the Indian Education Study Group, an inter-agency initiative with the Department of Education. Ms. Giaccardo has a B.A. in English (Professional Writing) from the University of New Mexico, and a Masters of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) from the University’s School of Architecture and Planning. She is a member of the Pueblo of San Felipe in New Mexico.

Katy Grounds photo

Katherin (Katy) Grounds spent more than two years as an attorney with the Navajo Nation prior to joining the Buy-Back Program. As counsel in the Navajo Nation Department of Justice's Natural Resources Unit, Ms. Grounds provided legal advice and representation to the Departments of Minerals, Land, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation, and the Abandoned Mine Lands Program. Prior to that, she served in the Office of Legislative Counsel. Ms. Grounds completed a Bachelor of Arts at Dartmouth College and holds a Juris Doctor, as well as a certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy, from the University of Arizona College of Law. Ms. Grounds is a member of the Navajo Nation and a descendant of the Yuchi-Creek and Seminole Tribes.

Santee Lewis photo

Santee Lewis joined the Buy-Back Program following the dual completion of a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Masters of Business Administration from the University's School of Management. Her previous legal experience includes clerking for the Native American Rights Fund and the Department of the Interior's Office of the Solicitor, Southwest Region. Ms. Lewis spent years serving as an auditor focused on Indian trust issues and compliance at organizations such as Chickasaw Nation Industries, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and for Navajo Nation. Ms. Lewis is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Julius Snell joined the Buy-Back Program after completing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Presidential Management Fellows Program working as a Realty Specialist within the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Real Estate Services in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he reviewed trust land transactions, managed programs that transfer Federal lands and property to tribes, and developed national policies to improve real estate services to the tribes. Mr. Snell completed a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Arizona. Mr. Snell is enrolled with the Navajo Nation.