BIA aims to start Cobell land consolidation purchases this year

The Bureau of Indian Affairs hopes to start the land consolidation portion of the $3.4 billion, Cobell trust fund settlement by the end of the year, Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn said today. The settlement provides $1.9 billion for the BIA to acquire fractionated interests from Indian beneficiaries. The land will then be returned to tribal governments. “Our goal is to start making offers on fractionated land interests by the end of the year,” Washburn, the head of the BIA, said on a conference call today. The land consolidation program is entirely voluntary. To spur participation, the settlement authorizes up to $60 million in scholarships to be awarded to Indian students.

The scholarship fund will be seeded with money from the acquisition of fractionated interests, Washburn said. If the purchase price is less than $200, $10 will be contributed to the fund. Find Out More >>>