Call Trust Beneficiary Call Center
The Trust Beneficiary Call Center is a centralized location for asking questions and receiving timely responses.
The Buy-Back Program is an office within the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Program works closely with the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to implement the Program across Indian Country.
An Oversight Board, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, also works to ensure the Program is carried out effectively and efficiently. The Board is comprised of key Departmental leadership, including the Solicitor, the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, and the Director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In addition, the Program is working with tribes to ensure the best information is available to landowners. Tribes participating in the Buy-Back Program have an opportunity to enter into cooperative agreements, when feasible and practical, or other arrangements with the Program to access potential resources to assist in Program implementation.
To be eligible for the Buy-Back Program, a tract must have: more than one owner; at least one trust or restricted interest; and appraised values. In addition, the tract must be mappable (i.e., legal description of a tract does not require further research) and not be 100 percent comprised of ineligible interests. Finally, the recognized tribe must exercise jurisdiction over the tract.
Interests must be located within an eligible tract and must be individually owned in trust or restricted status to be eligible for the Buy-Back Program.
An interest is not eligible for purchase through the Buy-Back Program if it is: owned in fee status or by the tribe; subject to life estate or joint tenancy; owned by a minor; or owned by an individual unable to make decisions on their own behalf (under a legal disability based on restricted status of landowner’s IIM account). In addition, if interest ownership is pending legal transaction (such as probate), it will not be considered.
The Buy-Back Program will send offers to as many individuals as possible considering the following purchase factors to identify tracts:
There is no fixed formula. The purchase factors and associated values/rates will be different for each reservation. The Buy-Back Program continuously analyzes and adjusts the purchase factors during the time it spends at each reservation to obtain the most benefit for both the willing seller and the tribe.
Due to limitations on implementation costs as set forth by the Cobell Settlement Agreement, the Program cannot support a long-term presence at each location. The Program plans to spend 12 to 18 months at each location; however, this timeframe may be adjusted. Tribes may work with the Department to determine an appropriate timeframe based on their individual needs.