The Interior Department announced Tuesday it will start a program to help Native American tribes buy back pieces of reservation land with multiple owners.
The reservations at Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Crow, Montana; and Makah, Washington along with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota tribe will start the program, with ten to 12 tribes joining by the end of the year. Purchases should speed up in the coming years, according to outgoing Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes.
The government formerly allotted reservation land to individual tribal members, who then passed it on to their heirs. The practice resulted in some parcels of land having thousands of owners.
The plan is part of a settlement reached in the Cobell lawsuit, which covered the mismanagement of royalties for Indian land.
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