MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An American Indian band in northeastern Minnesota is joining a government effort to return lands on reservations to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa is among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will join the land buyback program by 2017. That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

READ MORE: MN Rep. Ilhan Omar Visits Afghan Evacuees At Fort McCoy Calling It 'Uplifting' And 'Emotional'

The buyback program is part of a $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Montana, who died in 2011. The lawsuit claimed Interior Department officials mismanaged trust money held by the government for hundreds of thousands of Indian landowners.

READ MORE: Man Dies In Lake Street Shooting

The buyback program aims to buy land with “fractionated” interests and consolidate ownership of the parcels under tribal governments.

MORE NEWS: Minnesota Families Soak Up Warm Weather With Fall Festivities

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)