BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – U.S. officials say a program to return land on American Indian reservations to tribal control likely will run out of money before millions of eligible acres are addressed.
The Obama administration is spending almost $1.6 billion on a tribal land buyback program initiated under a 2009 legal settlement.
Officials use the money to purchase parcels of land with multiple owners and transfer them to tribal governments.
A new Interior Department report says more than 4 million eligible acres will remain when the settlement money runs out in 2022.
The report is scheduled for public release Tuesday. It was obtained in advance by The Associated Press.
The buyback program resulted from a lawsuit that alleged U.S. officials for decades mismanaged trust money held on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Indians.
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