Office of the Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior today announced over 5,500 landowners with fractional interests at the Crow Creek Reservation have been sent more than $5 million in purchase offers from the Land Buy-Back Program for tribal nations. Landowners who received offers have until July 11, 2022, to consider and return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelopes provided.
The Land 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 that ends November 2022. The Program will continue to purchase fractional interests while winding down its operations.
“The Department is pleased to continue land consolidation work through the Land Buy-Back Program at the Crow Creek Reservation. The offers announced today are an opportunity to benefit landowners and the tribal community for years to come,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Landowners receiving an offer package are encouraged to contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center to learn more about their options in order to make informed decisions regarding this unique, but time-limited, opportunity.”
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.
As of June 15, 2022, approximately $5 million remains in the land consolidation fund. Approval and payment of returned offers will be dependent on whether sufficient funds are left to honor them. The Program is collaborating with tribes to prioritize the use of the remaining funds to best meet tribal goals.
All landowners who respond before the deadline will be given equal consideration to allow landowners to make an informed decision without feeling rushed to be first in line. If a landowner wishes to participate in the Program, they still must return their offer by the deadline.
Landowners submitting offers should refrain from making financial or other related decisions until they receive an acknowledgement notice confirming or declining the sale of their fractional interest(s).
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.
- 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 at 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.