Agreements

Tribal collaboration plays a significant role in the success of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nation’s (Buy-Back Program) land consolidation activities. Tribes have the opportunity to actively participate in the process by partnering with the Program to conduct activities such as landowner outreach. Tribes are encouraged to become involved in the Program through cooperative agreements* or memoranda of agreements (MOA)**, as appropriate. 

It is important to note that tribes are not required to enter into cooperative agreements to participate in the Program. In certain cases, such as when a tribe is not seeking funding to partner with the Department on land consolidation efforts, a cooperative agreement may not be appropriate and an MOA may be used. 

    Tribes interested in applying for a cooperative agreement to collaborate with the Program on landowner outreach are encouraged to contact the Program and review the cooperative agreement resources listed below to gain familiarity with the application process and requirements. Close collaboration with Program staff is encouraged throughout the entire cooperative agreement process. Buy-Back Program staff will be available to provide on-going guidance and support, as well as technical assistance in developing a cooperative agreement.

    Cooperative Agreement Application Instructions

    This document provides guidance to tribes on how to prepare their cooperative agreement applications.

    Standard Financial Assistance Application Forms (SF-424)

    These standard, government-wide required forms must be submitted as part of a tribe's cooperative agreement application package to the Buy-Back Program:

    For guidance on how to complete these forms, please refer to the Cooperative Agreement Instructions.

    Cooperative Agreement Template

    This award document provides the legal instrument through which funding can be provided to a tribe to carry out the agreed-upon Program activities. Before funding can be awarded, the Program will first review the tribe's submitted application package and complete the Cooperative Agreement Template with information provided by the tribe. After the Cooperative Agreement Template has been completed by the Program, it will be provided to the tribe for review and signature. A Tribal official must then sign the cooperative agreement to acknowledge understanding of the terms and conditions within the agreement.

    Although this template will be completed with individualized tribal information, the terms and conditions contained within the cooperative agreement may not be modified, with the exception of compelling circumstances to be determined on a case-by-case basis. This standardization is to ensure efficiency and fairness to all parties choosing to enter into cooperative agreements in light of the Program's limited time and resources set by the Cobell Settlement.

    ASAP Enrollment Forms

    Funds awarded through a cooperative agreement will be made available via the U.S. Treasury Department’s Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) system. In order to receive access to awarded funds, tribes must be enrolled in the ASAP system under Agency Location Code 14010001. To enroll in ASAP, tribes must complete and return the following 3 enrollment forms to the Program:

    Applicable Rules/Guidance for Cooperative Agreements

    On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published revised financial assistance regulations in the Federal Register to streamline the Federal Government's guidance on Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These regulations supersede various OMB Circulars including A–87, A–102, and A–133. Under the 2000 Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) Amendments, the Secretary, to the extent practicable, may enter into agreements with the tribal government that exercises jurisdiction over the land involved or a subordinate entity of the tribal government to carry out some or all of the Secretary's land acquisition program. In accordance with the ILCA, cooperative agreements with the Buy-Back Program are not made pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Assistance Act (ISDEAA), 25 U.S.C. § 450 et seq. See 25 U.S.C. § 2212(b)(3)(C).

    Memorandum of Agreement Template

    As mentioned above, tribes are not required to enter into cooperative agreements to participate in the Program. Prior to implementation, tribes that would like to partner with the Program via a MOA will be invited to discuss the level of tribal engagement they would like to have during implementation. The MOA Template, which the Program completes, will be informed by these discussions and is intended to capture the roles and responsibilities of the Program and the tribe during implementation. Once the MOA Template has been completed by the Program, it will be provided to the tribe for review and signature. A Tribal official must then sign the MOA to acknowledge understanding of the terms and conditions within the agreement.

    Although this MOA template will be completed with individualized tribal information and will capture the implementation roles and responsibilities discussed with the Program, the more general terms and conditions contained within the agreement may not be modified, with the exception of compelling circumstances to be determined on a case-by-case basis. As with cooperative agreements, this standardization is to ensure efficiency and fairness to all parties choosing to enter into a MOA in light of the Program's limited time and resources set by the Cobell Settlement.

    A cooperative agreement is a legal instrument, similar to a grant, which represents the relationship between the Federal Government (i.e., Buy-Back Program) and a recipient (i.e., tribe). Its principle purpose is to transfer a thing of value (e.g., funding) to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation, as authorized by the Federal Government. When completing the activities under a cooperative agreement, substantial involvement is expected between the parties.

    ** A memorandum of agreement (also known as a memorandum of understanding) may be used whenever there is an agreement to exchange information or coordinate programs. They are used to optimize the benefits of each party's efforts. Each party is responsible for contributing its own effort. Resources, such as funds, are not exchanged.