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Montana tribes reach land buyback agreements

By Associated Press
Published On: Jan 30 2014 12:57:59 PM MST
CSKT leaders say government shutdown may affect tribal services
HELENA, Mont. -

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the government has finalized agreements with the leaders of two Montana Indian reservations as part of a Native American land buyback program.
    
Thursday's announcement involved the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Indian Reservation. The agreements will provide resources for outreach and education about the buyback initiative.
    
The 10-year, $1.9 billion program emerged from a lawsuit settlement approved in 2012 over the government's long history of mismanaging Indian trust royalties. It aims to consolidate land held by numerous "fractional" owners and transfer the property to tribes to benefit their members.
    
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Chairman Ronald Trahan says tribal leaders plan to purchase more than 38,000 acres of trust land and consolidate it for more productive use.