Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Ten reservations account for biggest share of Cobell buyback

Landowners on 10 reservations stand to receive a large chunk of funds from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement authorized $1.9 billion for land consolidation. If every landowner on the 10 reservations accepted offers, they would receive $873 million, or nearly 46 percent of the funds, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

The program is entirely voluntary and not every offer will be accepted. But the focus on certain reservations has some tribal leaders worried that they are being left behind.

"Indian tribal members are willing to sell, and tribes are more than willing to take it," John Berrey, the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, told the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs at a hearing earlier this month. He said his efforts to work with the Interior Department on the program have been met with silence.

The top 10 reservations where estimated offers could bring in $873 million are: Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, Blackfeet, Crow, Navajo, Fort Peck, Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Fort Berthold.

Get the Story:
Tribes irked by slow start to U.S. land buyback program (McClatchy Newspapers 4/17)

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House subcommittee to hold hearing on land buy-back program (03/24)
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