Land Acquisition - Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) Project….
In 2004, the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, selected the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for the Indian Land Consolidation Project. The Salish and Kootenai are the first self-governance tribe in the nation to receive funding for this multi-million dollar project.
The Indian Land Consolidation Project is intended to fund Tribal purchase of thousands of undivided fractional interests, in hundreds of Flathead Reservation trust land tracts, to improve the economic development potential of these lands for the benefit of the Tribal membership.
An undivided, fractional interest is a percentage of ownership in a land parcel. When an Indian landowner passes away without a will, trust property transfers to the heirs as one parcel with several owners. With each following generation, these fractions of ownership interest are split again among the heirs, into even smaller percentages of ownership. On this Reservation alone, at the time the project began, there were more than 2,000 owners who owned less than 2% interest in 88 tracts of land.
Extreme fractionation limits economic development in several ways. For example, without consent from a majority of the owners, Indian trust land cannot be leased. With hundreds of owners in some tracts, obtaining consent can be time-consuming and hold up a lease agreement. Once leased, rental income for small-interest owners can be as little as a few cents, and higher-return business leases cannot be negotiated if most owners do not agree on the type of use proposed. Some ownership interests are so small, that subdividing the land into portions for each owner would result in parcels too small for building even a home.
The ILCA Acquisition Technicians are contacting landowners with fractional interests to determine if they are willing to sell their undivided, ownership interests. If an owner is willing to sell, the following steps are followed:
- Owner completes an “Application for Sale of Trust Land.” (Land Services staff can help a landowner identify his or her ownership, if needed.)
- The Fair Market Value is determined for the ownership interest.
- A deed is prepared to transfer the undivided, fractional interest to the Tribes for the Fair Market Value.
- The money from the sale is then distributed to the former owner through his or her Individual Indian Monies (IIM) account. If an account has not already been established, the seller works with Tribal staff to open an account.
If you have an undivided interest in trust land, and are willing to sell, please call Rose Tellier at 675-2700, extension 1257, or 1-888-391-4733 (toll free). Interests of 2% or less will have priority for purchase.
Rose Tellier – Land Acquisition Technician (ILCA)