Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Interior Launches Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations to Manage $1.9 Billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund

Implementation plan to help unlock lands for tribal economic develoment, self-governance purposes; initial plan emphasizes tribal consultation, flexibility as keys to success

 


Implementation plan to help unlock lands for tribal economic develoment, self-governance purposes; initial plan emphasizes tribal consultation, flexibility as keys to success

WASHINGTON D.C. –The Department of the Interior today announced the initial framework of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations that will purchase fractional interests in American Indian trust lands from willing sellers, enabling tribal governments to use the consolidated parcels for the benefit of their communities.

The initial implementation plan, based on consultation with tribes, outlines how Interior will carry out the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided a $1.9 billion fund to purchase the fractionated interests in trust or restricted land, at fair market value, within a 10 year period. These acquired interests will remain in trust or restricted status through transfer to tribes.

“Freeing up fractionated lands for the benefit of tribal nations will increase the number of acres in tribal land bases, stimulate economic development and promote tribal sovereignty and self-determination,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes. “This initial plan will guide this landmark effort, and we will continually update the plan to reflect lessons learned and tribal input. We know that success will only happen with the leadership of tribes, and we look forward to working through our nation-to nation relationship to implement the important initiative.”

As outlined in a Secretarial Order also announced today, the organizational structure for the Buy-Back Program will consist of a core group in the Office of the Secretary to provide management and performance expertise under the supervision of a Program Manager. The program relies on the extensive expertise and services within Interior, primarily in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians, to implement the operational aspects, including valuations and acquisitions.

The Initial Implementation Plan reflects the comments received from tribal consultation sessions in the summer and fall of 2011 and the draft Implementation Plan released in January, 2012. The plan outlines the initial goals and priorities of the program, summarizes key parameters and operational concepts, and outlines ways in which tribes can participate in the Buy-Back Program through cooperative agreements. The Initial Implementation Plan is available for public comment for 75 days.

Interior holds about 56 million acres in trust for American Indians. More than 10 million acres are held for individual American Indians and nearly 46 million acres are held for Indian tribes. The department holds this land in more than 200,000 tracts, of which approximately 92,000 contain fractional ownership interests subject to purchase by the Buy-Back Program.

For additional information on the Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations and to view the Initial Implementation Plan, please visit http://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram.

For information about the individual class-action payments under the Cobell Settlement, please contact GCG, Inc. at 1-800-961-6109 or via email at Info@IndianTrust.com.

 

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