WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is gearing up to spend nearly $2 billion on 10 million acres of land that will in turn be given back to Native American tribes.
The plan entails buying back reservation land from willing sellers and distributing that land among 150 tribes across the nation, the McClatchy Newspapers reported Sunday.
Congress agreed to the buyback in 2010 to settle a lawsuit.
"We can improve Indian Country if people will go along with this program and sell their interests back to their tribes," Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said in an interview.
Meanwhile, tribe leaders say 45 percent of the land will go to just seven tribes, while other tribes will have to fight over the rest.
"We're all going to be fighting for scraps," said Chief James Allan of Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Tribe
And, many believe that property owners are expected to be reluctant sellers.
"This is a modern day retaking of the land and, given the historical implications of that, they don't want to relive it," said Les Riding-In, assistant dean and director of graduate studies at the University of Texas-Arlington and a member of the Comanche Tribe. "It's reminiscent of how the government took the land back when colonization was happening."