Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Politics

Audio from House subcommittee hearing on Cobell land buyback

The House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs held an oversight hearing this afternoon to discuss the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement authorized $1.9 billion for land consolidation. The Interior Department is focusing efforts on 40 reservations where fractionation poses a significant issue.

So far, DOI has paid $14 million to landowners on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Larry Roberts, the deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, told lawmakers. Overall, more than $100 million in offers have been extended to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Tribal members in Montana and Wyoming could $406 million for their fractionated interests, Roberts testified. But he didn't offer a timeline on when offers would go out.

"We're looking to ramp and and we need to ramp up," Roberts said.

A panel of tribal leaders testified that the program isn't moving fast enough. They also said DOI hasn't responded to their requests to enter into cooperative agreements to encourage their people to sell their interests.

The hearing lasted about 58 minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "Implementing the Cobell Settlement: Missed Opportunities and Lessons Learned.” (April 3, 2014)

Related Stories:
Larry Roberts: Answers about the Cobell land buy-back program (4/3)
DOI makes transfer of nearly $580K into Cobell scholarship fund (4/2)
Members of Oglala Sioux Tribe respond to Cobell buyback offers (3/28)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on land buy-back program (03/24)
DOI land buy-back boosts economy on Pine Ridge Reservation (03/19)
DOI announces $100M in land offers on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/18)
Deadline approaches for first Cobell land consolidation offers (1/27)

Join the Conversation