Government offering to buy Makah lands for tribe

NEAH BAY, Wash. (AP) - The U.S. government is buying up property from some members of the Makah Tribe, for the Makah Tribe.

As part of a settlement of a lawsuit that accused the feds of mismanaging Indian land royalties, the Interior Department agreed to help tribes buy parcels of reservation land that have accumulated multiple owners through several generations.

The Peninsula Daily News reports the government is prepared to spend nearly $2.6 million buying the so-called "fractionated" parcels from the heirs of the original owners, who own just pieces of them.

So far, 127 of 531 sale offers on the Makah reservation have been accepted, for a total of about $460,000. The Interior Department recently made an additional $1.2 million in land purchase offers to nearly 600 more owners.

Dale Denney, realty officer for the Makah, says the tribe can use the land for economic development, home site assignments or cultural preservation.