Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Land Buy Back Program coming

PABLO Last week, the Department of the Interior announced that the Pine Ridge Reservation entered a Cooperative Agreement to purchase fractionated interests on the reservation. Under the program, the Oglala Sioux will attempt to purchase approximately 1,194,000 million acres of fractionated lands. The Pine Ridge reservation is the most highly fractionated reservation in the nation.

As a result of the Interior news release on Pine Ridge, many Salish and Kootenai Tribal members have called the Tribal Lands Department to inquire about local land buy back efforts. This program is part of the Cobell settlement and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been allocated $7.4 million to buy fractionated reservation land interests. The Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been in active negotiations and we anticipate an approved signed Cooperative Agreement for land buy back, by January.

The $7.4 million allocated to the Tribes will purchase an estimated 38,400 acres within the reservation boundaries. These funds were earmarked in the Cobell settlement for land buy back and cannot legally be allocated to any other purpose.

Flathead reservation appraisals are in process and they will be turned in to the Land Buyback Program for review by the end of December 2013. This process anticipates fractionated interest land purchase offers being made to CSKT fractionated interest owners between March and April 2014.

There are a few things to remember:
    Willing sellers only. Not all owners in a tract have to sell their interests nor agree to the Tribes purchase
    Both mineral interests and surface interests will be purchased
    A fractionated interest is defined as more than one owner in a specific tract
    Minimum payments are defined as $75 (even if the interest is worth only $5.00)
    Offers to purchase are time limited and valid for only 45 days
    You will need the services of a notary when you sign the purchase agreement. The Tribal Lands Department and Tribal Administration have several notaries on staff.

The CSKT Tribal Council has worked hard to achieve an agreement. There are 40 Tribes nationwide who are eligible for the land buyback program. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal government is one of the top five nationally where implementation will occur shortly all due to leadership diligence and persistence.

Interested sellers may contact Anita Matt at the Tribal Lands Department at 675-2700, ext. 1266; or George Ducharme at ext. 1269. More information will be forthcoming.

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