WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced that nearly 5,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Blackfeet Reservation have been sent more than $130 million in purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. Landowners who receive offers have until December 13, 2021, to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided.
The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to consolidate fractional interests in trust or restricted land within a 10-year period set to expire in November 2022. As of September 28, 2021, approximately $91 million remains.
“The Buy-Back Program is collaborating with the Blackfeet Nation towards our shared goals of promoting informed decision making among landowners and maximizing the consolidation of fractional interests.” stated Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “We are pleased to be building on the achievements of past implementations at the Blackfeet Reservation, which resulted in the consolidation of more than 184,300 fractional interests and more than 435,00 equivalent acres.”
Interests consolidated through the Program are immediately restored to Tribal trust ownership. Program purchases can unify reservation lands for Tribal benefit and use, such as economic development, infrastructure, housing, cultural preservation and rights-of-way.
Various informational tools are available to landowners, who are encouraged to think strategically about their options and carefully consider how to use the funds they receive from selling their land. For example, the Program’s website includes:
detailed frequently asked questions, available at https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/faq, and
additional information to help individuals make informed decisions about their land, available at https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/informeddecisionmaking.
Landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or TBCCmail@btfa.gov with questions about their land and/or purchase offers, or to request a copy of an appraisal report for any appraised tract in which they have an owner interest. Landowners can also contact their local Bureau of Trust Funds Administration office with additional questions.