Citing its 12-year struggle in settling a long running dispute with the Department of Interior over mismanagement of Indian trust land, the Quapaw Tribe hailed the department’s announcement that it is entering a new phase with a $1.9 billion land consolidation program this week that affects 21 tribes.
"This is heartening, and we thank both the Department of Interior and Congressman Don Young of Alaska for their tremendous effort in moving this important matter forward," said Chairman John L. Berrey of the Quapaw Tribe. "It has been a long time coming, and it has been high on our priority list for about 12 years now."
Interior Department officials announced Thursday that they had identified 21 American Indian reservations for the next phase of a $1.9 billion land-consolidation program.
The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma is one of those 21 tribes.
The land buyback program is part of the Cobell settlement – a $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit that was settled in 2010. The buyback program aims to purchase fractionated land parcels across the nation currently owned by thousands of individual tribal members and transfer them to the tribes. Authority for the buyback program ends in 2022.
The following Indian reservations have been identified by the Department of Interior as those it will focus on in the next phase of fractionated land purchases.
— Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana.
— Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, Wyoming.
— Coeur D'Alene Tribe of the Coeur D'Alene Reservation, Idaho.
— Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana.
— Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon.
— Crow Tribe, Montana.
— Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana.
— Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona.
— Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington.
— Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation, Washington.
— Navajo Nation, Arizona.
— Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana.
— Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.
— Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Kansas.
— Quapaw Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma.
— Quinault Tribe of the Quinault Reservation, Washington.
— Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota.
— Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, North Dakota and South Dakota.
— Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington.
— Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota and South Dakota.
— Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation, Washington.