Program works to consolidate fractionated lands, strengthen Tribal communities
Date: March 1, 2018
WASHINGTON – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs John Tahsuda announced today that the Department of the Interior has signed an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon to guide implementation of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.
This is the second agreement of its kind signed between the Department and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. In July 2017, the Department announced new policies and a revised implementation schedule, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value within 10 years. Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, more than 760,000 interests and the equivalent of nearly 2.2 million acres of land have been transferred to tribal governments.
Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members. As a result of the Buy-Back Program, tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in more than 14,700 tracts of land. Returning fractionated lands to tribes in trust has enormous potential to improve tribal community resources by increasing home site locations, improving transportation routes, spurring economic development, easing approval for infrastructure and community projects, and preserving traditional cultural or ceremonial sites.
Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) to ask questions about their land or purchase offers, and learn about financial planning resources. More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available at https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/FAQ to help individuals make informed decisions about their lands.