By Parker Shea | Arizona Mirror
The U.S. Department of Interior’s latest round of its land buyback program ended in September for all Navajo Nation applicants, and DOI’s early data show a sharp decline in participation.
As of Sept. 27, only 23% of Navajo landowners who had offers participated in the program, compared to 43% in the program’s last round in 2016. Of the $157 million the Interior Department set aside for Navajo Nation landowners, only $39 million was accepted.
By comparison, in 2016 the government set aside $259 million, of which $108 million was accepted. To date, the U.S. has bought back nearly 200,000 acres from landowners on the Navajo reservation.