SIOUX FALLS, SD - The U.S. Department of Interior says more than 16,000 land buyback offers have been sent to owners of parcels on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The offers total more than $100 million and will allow landowners to voluntarily sell their so-called fractioned interests.
The parcels that get sold will be consolidated and held in trust for the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The department says the buy-back program's goal is to strengthen self-determination for federally recognized tribes.
The purchases announced Tuesday are part of the settlement of the Cobell lawsuit over government mismanagement of Indian land royalties.
Allotting reservation land to individual tribal members, who passed it to heirs, was once a government method for assimilating American Indians. Some parcels now have several owners.