The U.S. Department of the Interior says it has finalized the first cooperative agreement in a $1.9 billion Native American land buyback program stemming from the settlement of a nearly 17-year lawsuit over more than a century's worth of mismanaged trust royalties.
The agreement reached with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota outlines the strategy and resources to be provided to tribal leaders for outreach and education.
The 10-year buyback program is the largest part of the $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., in 1996 and finalized last year.
The department says outreach is already underway on Pine Ridge, and the department intends to make the first offers by the end of the year.
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