Cobell Settlement Agreement

President Barack Obama and late American Indian Activist Elouise Cobell shaking hands in the White House.

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations was created to implement the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement Agreement.


This Agreement provided a $1.9 billion fund to purchase fractionated interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers, at fair market value, within a 10-year period.

President Barack Obama and late American Indian Activist Elouise Cobell.

The Program involves collaboration with Interior, tribes, and individuals - to reduce the number of fractional interests in tracts of trust or restricted lands.


Fractionated tracts are defined as any tract with more than one landowner.


Venn Diagram illustrating the connection between the Department of Interior, the Tribe and the Individual.

Collaborative Effort

Land Involved

Interior holds in trust more than 56 million acres for tribes and individual American Indians.


This land is held in more than 200,000 tracts, of which about 93,500 (on approximately 150 reservations) contain fractional ownership interests subject to purchase by the Buy-Back Program.


Approximately 90% of the fractionated lands available to purchase are in 40 of the 150 locations.

Great Plains

Rocky Mountain




Southern Plains


Eastern Oklahoma



Pie chart indicating the division of Interests across ten different regions. The three largest groups are Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, Western.

Fractional Interests

by Region

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Read More: Fractionation, the Result of Allotment

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