The Department of Interior published in the January 13, 2016, FEDERAL REGISTER the attached notice concerning the next implementation phase for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations established pursuant to the Cobell settlement. The Secretarially-established Buy-Back Program is intended to reduce through purchase the number of fractional interest properties owned by individuals. The properties are then consolidated into tribal land bases for the beneficial use of tribal communities.
Thus far, the Buy-Back Program has paid out $715 million to individuals from the $1.9 billion Trust land Consolidation Fund, resulting in 1.5 million acres for tribes. The Interior Department is requesting:
• Tribal governments not already scheduled for implementation under the Buy-Back Program are asked to indicate their interest in participating in the Buy-Back Program by March 11, 2016. Tribal staff should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Individual landowners are asked to contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 by March 11, 2016 to register their interest in the Buy-Back program and to confirm contact information. The Department says this will help in developing the next implementation schedule. Registration with the Call Center does not commit a landowner to sell their land and is not a guarantee that a purchase offer will be made. The Department is working to educate landowners about the program and its procedures.
In addition, Deputy Secretary Michael Connor will host a listing session regarding the Land Buy-Back Program on March 3, 2016 at the Albuquerque, NM Convention Center, from 1-5 p.m. Mountain Time.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.