Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Ken Salazar: Cobell settlement a big step toward trust reform





"An historic court action on June 20 signaled the beginning of a new era in the U.S. Government’s relations with American Indian communities.

By approving the $3.4 billion settlement of the Cobell v. Salazar lawsuit, U.S. Senior District Judge Thomas F. Hogan paved the way for payments to as many as a half a million American Indians to resolve their class-action litigation regarding the federal government’s management of their individual trust accounts and assets.

A fund of $1.5 billion will be used to compensate class members for their claims regarding potential mismanagement of their trust funds and assets and historical accounting. The agreement also establishes a $1.9 billion fund for the voluntary buy-back and consolidation of fractionated land interests, which have been proliferating through succeeding generations. The program, to be administered by the Department of the Interior, provides individual American Indians an opportunity to obtain cash payments for small divided land interests and free up the “fractionated” land for the benefit of tribal communities. The settlement also provides for a Indian Education Scholarship Fund of up to $60 million for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives."

Get the Story:
Ken Salazar: A Historic Step Toward True Trust Reform (White House Blog 6/28)

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