Carl Trombley, Joann Gilham and Melissa St. Goddard were on hand at the Glacier Peaks Hotel on Friday, Nov. 1, in another outreach event for the Blackfeet Land Buy-Back Program. Hotel officials said they’d seen many people taking advantage of the second round of the program established through the Cobell Settlement that allotted $1.9 billion aimed at allowing owners of fractionated lands to sell them to the Tribe and put in trust.
The Blackfeet Reservation is one of 12 locations that was announced in July 2017 in the Land Buy-Back Program to host another round of outreach, and a schedule of outreach activities has been generated to reach landowners who may not have taken advantage of the program before. As of Sept. 16, 2019, there was approximately $274 million of the $1.9 billion originally set aside that still remains.
Ted Hall is organizing the outreach under Mark Magee of the Blackfeet Land Department. Six outreach specialists are handling the effort, and prospective sellers may see offers coming their way by late fall. Once a person has received an offer, they have 60 days to accept it by having the document notarized, and then the landowner must return the form themselves by mail.
The U.S. Department of Interior has supplied some “Things to Note” about the program, including “participation is voluntary.” Other points say, “All sellers receive fair market value, plus a $75 base payment per offer. Landowners have 60 days to accept/return purchase offers. Payments are deposited into the seller’s IIM account. Not all landowners will receive an offer. Call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 1-888-678-6836 with questions, to update your address or to register as an interested seller.”
In addition, folks can call 338-4335 or 338-5420 locally to access the Buy-Back Office.
The Outreach team plans another event slated to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, at the Glacier Peaks Hotel in Browning.