Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Cobell
Cobell settlement heads to White House after clearing Congress


The $3.4 billion settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit gained final approval on Tuesday, more than 14 years after the case was filed in federal court.

The House voted 256 to 152 to pass H.R.4783, the Claims Settlement Act of 2010. Only 16 Republicans joined 240 Democrats in supporting the measure.

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. Once it becomes law, a federal judge will begin the process to distribute the funds.

The settlement includes $1.5 billion in direct payments to individual Indians. Each account holder will receive at least a $500 or $1,000 payment but many will will receive more, depending on the types of activity that occurred on their lands.

The settlement also creates a $1.9 billion land consolidation fund. Willing landowners can receive money for their fractionated interests, which will then be placed in trust for their respective tribal governments.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the fractionated interests -- up to $60 million -- will go to an Indian scholarship fund.

The settlement was announced nearly a year ago, on December 8, 2009. Some minor changes were made to address concerns from Indian beneficiaries, tribes and members of Congress.

Get the Story:
House passes Cobell settlement, sending legislation to Obama (The Billings Gazette 12/1)
Cobell Indian trust settlement wins House approval, heads to the White House (The Oklahoman 12/1)
Court OKs $3.4 billion settlement in Alaska Native lands dispute (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 12/1)
House OKs Indian suit payout (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 12/1)
House passes Cobell settlement, Crow water compact (The Clark Fork Chronicle 11/30)

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

Relevant Documents:
Elouise Cobell | President Obama | DOJ/DOI/USDA | Roll Call
NCAI | Sen. Dorgan | Sen. Baucus | Rep. Cole | Rep. Pallone

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