Deadline nears for Navajos in national land buyback program

Posted at 4:39 AM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 07:39:42-04

Deadlines are nearing for thousands of Navajos considering offers to sell off land interests as part of a nationwide program.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has made offers worth more than $260 million to about 26,000 Navajo landowners.

The buyback program is the second phase of the $3.4 billion Cobell class-action lawsuit over royalties the federal government held in trust for American Indians.

The voluntary program aims to buy land parcels owned by multiple individuals -- sometimes hundreds or thousands of people -- and turn them over to tribal governments.

Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor will be visiting the Navajo Nation this week.

The department says Navajo landowners have until Saturday or Aug. 22 to accept or reject offers, depending on when they received them.