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Cobell
Jodi Rave: Interior can't find owners of $73M


"The Interior Department owes tens of millions of dollars to tens of thousands of Native people - but it doesn't know where to send the checks.

Nearly $73 million sits in a U.S. Treasury account waiting to be claimed by nearly 85,000 Native people, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Nearly four years ago, the department's Office of Special Trustee created its Trust Beneficiary Call Center in Albuquerque, N.M., to field calls and find people who have an Individual Indian Money account.

Money is deposited into an IIM for lease and royalty payments, and tribal citizens will likely have an account if they own land, said said Debby Pafel, an special trustee spokeswoman.

But many people don't know they own land, which is why there are so many unclaimed accounts, Pafel said.

They likely share a fraction of an undivided interest on a parcel owned by hundreds of others."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Natives aren't getting checks because Interior doesn't have listing (The Missoulian 8/10)

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