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Cobell vs. Salazar/Indian Land Consolidation Program: The Buy Back Program Note: the following text uses “reservation” to mean all Indian lands, including Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Areas; “Buy Back” is used for the Buy Back Program of the Indian Trust Land Consolidation Program. A major part of the Cobell Settlement in 2012 was the creation of the Indian Land Consolidation Program, which in turn created the Buy Back Program. Buy Back has $1,770,000,000 to buy lands owned by tribal members that the BIA will then return to the tribe of which the seller is a citizen. When the Dawes Act of 1887 gave allotments of lands that had formerly been held in common by all tribal members to individual owners it created the problem of “fractionated” lands. Fractionated lands are lands that were inherited by descendants of the original owner. These descendants became “tenants in common” of that land, which means that an allotment of what may have originally been 360 acres became an allotment of 2.5 acres or less after a hundred years. The more individuals there have been in a family, the greater the degree of fractionation exists. It’s hard to do anything with such a small piece of land to make money. Buy Back will return these lands to the tribe to be held in common, and it will then be possible for the tribe to generate income for its citizens through economic development, such as natural oil and gas extraction, and farming and ranching. Definitions: a “land tract” is a parcel of land owned by an owner; a “fractionated tract” is a parcel of land owned by multiple owners, from a few to many. The Buy Back Program is part of the Cobell Settlement that was approved by Congress on November 24, 2012. It puts $1.9 billion in a Trust Land Consolidation Fund for buying highly fractionated land—which means multiple to many owners of one piece of land—for tribes from individuals willing to sell their land to their tribes. This money must be expended by the end of the 10 year period that ends on November 24, 2022. The Initial Implementation Plan, based on tribal consultations that began in 2011 and initial planning, is underway. Find this plan at www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/upload/Initial-Implementation-Plan-508.pdf History: the fractionation of Indian lands is a result of the General Allotment Act of 1887, the Dawes Act, which allowed tribal lands to be allotted to individual tribal members in 80- or 160-acre parcels. As lands were inherited over the generations they became fractionated. The number of fractional land interests grew by 12.5% just from 2007 to 2011. It had been hoped that the prior American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 would slow the growth of fractionation more than it did. There are approximately 150 reservations with 2.9 million fractional land interests owned by 219,000+ individuals—the location of about 18% of the landowners is currently unknown—that will participate in the Buy Back Program. 90% of the purchasable fractional interests are located within 40 of the 150 reservations that have purchasable fractional interests. Buy Back will focus on these 40 reservations first, then second within the highest ranked reservations in that list, and then third on acquisitions that best reduce fractionation and promote economic development for their tribe. Oklahoma has 7,237 fractionated tracts with a total of 564,272 acres in BIA’s Southern Plains Region, and 5,088 fractionated tracts with a total of 320,593 acres in BIA’s Eastern Oklahoma Region. In this list of 40 top reservations there are 5 Oklahoma tribes – From “Table 1 – For Illustrative Purposes – Subject to Change,” Initial Implementation Plan National rankings: #20 – Chickasaw Nation, tracts: 1,882, acres: 111,219 #22 – Cheyenne/Arapaho, tracts: 1,129, acres: 96,787 #31 – Seminole, tracts: 952, acres: 37,627 #34 – Ponca, tracts: 403, acres: 20,882
|Okla State Agency||
Libraries, Oklahoma Department of
|Okla Agency Code||
|Title||Cobell vs. Salazar/Indian Land Consolidation program : the Buy Back program.|
Oklahoma. Department of Libraries. U. S. Government Information Division.
|Publisher||Oklahoma Department of Libraries|
Individual Indian trust funds--Law and legislation--United States.
Indian allotments--Law and legislation--United States.
Indians of North America--Land tenure.
|Purpose||A major part of the Cobell Settlement in 2012 was the creation of the Indian Land Consolidation Program, which in turn created the Buy Back Program. Buy Back has $1,770,000,000 to buy lands owned by tribal members that the BIA will then return to the tribe of which the seller is a citizen.|
|OkDocs Class#||L1400.1 C655s 2013|
|Digital Format||PDF, Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: www.oklibshare.org/BuyBack.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma state government publication is provided for educational purposes under U.S. copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|