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The Obama administration is moving ahead with plans to spend $1.9 billion to buy back land held by individual Indians for the benefit of American Indian tribes.

The enormous buy-back program will allow the tribes to consolidate ownership of land that has been passed down through the generations, to the point where one tract may be owned by hundreds, or even thousands, of individuals.

The Interior Department says the voluntary Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations is “part of President Obama’s commitment to help strengthen Indian communities.”

The $1.9 billion will be spent to purchase “fractionated” interests from willing sellers, at fair market value, within a ten-year period. The acquired, consolidated land, to be held in trust by the federal government, will make it easier for tribes to get bank loans to boost economic development.

Following consultations with the tribes, the Interior Department announced this week that it is ready to begin working with tribal nations, “so we can proceed with initial offers by the end of this year,” said David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

Hayes chairs the oversight board, which was created to ensure the “highest-level of accountability” within the Interior Department

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