Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | National

Fond du Lac Band sees $3.8M in offers from Cobell land buy-back

A view of the Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota. Photo from Fond du Lac Band

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations has come to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota.

Nearly $3.8 million in offers went out to more than 3,200 landowners, the Interior Department announced on Monday. Interested sellers have 45 days -- until May 2 -- to accept the money for their fractionated interests.

According to The Duluth News Tribune, individual Indians own about 8,000 acres on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Some parcels have as many as 1,800 owners, the paper said.

The $3.8 million in offers appear to be part of a first round on the reservation because the tribe previously said it anticipated upwards of $7.8 million in offers, a figure confirmed by a March 11 chart from the buy-back program. Some reservations have seen more then one round of offers.

According to the March 11 chart, Indian landowners across the country have accepted $739.5 million for their interests. The equivalent of nearly 1.5 million acres has been transferred to tribal governments through the program.

The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell their fractionated interests. The Indian Land Consolidation Act requires the federal government to pay "fair market value" for the interests.

“We continue to see enthusiasm for the Buy-Back Program across Indian Country,” Deputy Secretary Michael Connor said in a press release. “As program implementation progresses, federal staff and tribal leaders must continue to work together to ensure that landowners are provided all relevant information so they are fully informed about participation in the program.”

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Offers out to owners of Fond du Lac land (The Duluth News Tribune 3/15)

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