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

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) will work 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 guide implementation on each reservation in accordance with a location's unique needs and priorities:

Lorna Babby photo

Lorna Babby joined the Buy-Back Program in August 2013, and served for two years as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Acquisition Center before becoming a Tribal Relations Advisor. She has more than two decades of diverse professional experience in Indian law and policy, with an emphasis on Indian water rights. Prior to joining the Program, Lorna served as an attorney advisor with the Interior Solicitor’s Office Division of Indian Affairs, a tribal liaison with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, and a staff attorney with the Indian Law Resource Center. She also worked in Indian Country as a legal services attorney, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer. Lorna graduated with honors from Gonzaga University, and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. Lorna is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.


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.