Indian Land Buy Back Woes

Amidst news of $100 million in offers at Pine Ridge and other gold rush headlines, here's what a few folks are saying about Interior's Indian land buy back program as it hits the ground in select Indian Country locations:

BIA and BLM folks are saying "that there is absolutely no money available for BIA to do surveys unless they are cadastral surveys that support the BIA GIS program for the Buy Back Program. [The BIA] Central Office has taken away all Regional Office discretion in determining how funds for land surveys are made. What little money there has ever been at BIA for surveying to protect tribal boundaries is being swept up for the Buy Back Program. It is supposed to be the Cobell funds that support the Buy Back, not normal BIA operating funds.

Of course this is nothing new. Amidst Cobell, all BIA operating funds were swallowed up with trust reform.

[N]o appraisals came with the past offers or present offers. I will soon get an offer without an appraisal and will have no way to judge whether this offer was "fair" or not.

Appraisals are fundamental to the purchase and sale of any Indian land. Without them, the transactions are illegal.indian_land_Theft_sale

The Buy-Back Program was created as part of the Cobell Settlement to purchase fractionated trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value....If you voluntarily choose to sell, you will receive fair market value, plus a base payment of $75 per offer.

Interior continues to play hide the ball, feigning that the buy back program concerns only "willing sellers," when the agency knows full well that tribe-vs-member forced sales are looming.

As Indian Country fawns over $2 billion in new monies, the unfolding truth about the buy back might surprise folks.

Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the Managing Partner at Galanda Broadman. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or