Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Oglala Sioux Tribe enters agreement for land consolidation

The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota has signed the first agreement with the Interior Department as part of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

The agreement will facilitate the purchase of highly fractionated interests on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Any land that is acquired will be returned to the tribe.

“It is a priority for the Obama administration to reduce fractionation and implement the Buy-Back Program in as fair and equitable a manner as possible,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a press release. “Cooperative agreements give us an opportunity to work together, nation-to-nation, to ensure that the program’s implementation is tailored to the specific priorities of each tribe. This agreement reflects a spirit of mutual respect and teamwork as we work together to address this opportunity.”

Pine Ridge is one of the most highly fractionated reservations. According to DOI, approximately 6,028 tracts with 195,862 purchasable interests are eligible for the buy-back program.

The program is entirely voluntary but it could prove lucrative for tribal members. According to the Native Sun News, purchases on the reservation could total $126 million.

“I am very happy with the agreement and glad that was done,” Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer said in the DOI press release. “Our outreach workers are out meeting with the people in the communities. I am hoping that we will be able to start buying the fractionated land that is out there with the money that is available. We are also anticipating the first offer to be complete within the month.”

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is holding an oversight hearing tomorrow to discuss the program.

Get the Story:
Co-op agreement finalized for buyback program (AP 12/10)

Committee Notice:
OVERSIGHT HEARING to receive testimony on "Implementation of the Department of the Interior's Land Buy-Back Program." (December 11, 2013)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on land buyback (12/9)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe launches buyback program (12/3)
Gabe Galanda: More problems in DOI's land buy-back plan (11/12)
Appraisal Foundation reviews Cobell land consolidation plans (11/8)

Join the Conversation