The Secretary of the Interior established the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program, Program) to implement the land consolidation provisions of the Cobell Settlement Agreement, which provided $ 1. 9 billion to consolidate fractional land interests across Indian country.
Buy-Back Program allows interested individual owners to sell their land for immediate transfer to the recognized tribe that exercises jurisdiction.
This effort will strengthen tribal sovereignty and put decision-making in the hands of the tribal government, freeing up resources that have been locked-up as land interests that have fractionated over time.
The Buy-Back Program has announced 42 locations where land consolidation activities such as planning, outreach, mapping, mineral evaluations, appraisals or acquisitions are scheduled to take place through the middle of 201 7. The Buy-Back Program is interested in partnering with the eligible tribes that have jurisdiction over these 42 locations, as well as any locations that are added to the implementation schedule, to gain their direct participation in land consolidation efforts given tribes’ unique qualifications to perform land consolidation activities for their reservations.
Consequently, the Program intends to, whenever feasible and practical, enter into single source cooperative agreements with these eligible tribes to not only capitalize on their unique knowledge of their reservations but also to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the Program.
Eligible tribes will be given the opportunity to apply for a cooperative agreement, whenever feasible and practical, prior to the implementation of the Buy-Back Program at the location under their jurisdiction.
The Buy-Back Program will continue to expand to other reservations over the next several years, and tribes with jurisdiction over locations not yet scheduled for implementation will receive information about how they can participate once their reservations are scheduled.
Tribes are encouraged to contact Program staff for more information on developing the cooperative agreement application prior to submission.
Tribes are not required to enter into cooperative agreements to participate in the Program.
In certain cases, it may be unnecessary and other vehicles, such as memorandums of agreements, may be used.
The Settlement Agreement limits the amount of funding that may be used for implementation costs associated with the Program (e.g., outreach, land research, and appraisals).
Thus, to help ensure that it stays within the established limit on implementation costs, the Program will fund indirect costs through cooperative agreements equal to no more than 15% of the modified total direct costs.
This is a 10-year program.
The expiration on this posting reflects this current opportunity, and new opportunities will be posted over the duration of the Program.
In addition, given that the Cobell Settlement specifically limits overall implementation costs for the duration of the Program, cooperative agreement awards are not intended to fund or support long-term, multi-year programs at each location or reservation.
Most awards will provide funding for no longer than 1 year, and tribes are encouraged to utilize the award amount to work with existing tribal land offices and programs.
Tribes are also encouraged to first review mapping and other information available from the Program and to work with Program staff in the development of the cooperative agreement application.