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Native Sun News: Group eyes cut of Standing Rock settlement





The following story was written and reported by Native Sun News Staff. All content © Native Sun News. All content © Native Sun News.

Off-reservation Standing Rock members want share of Salazar payout
By Native Sun News Staff

RAPID CITY — Certain members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South and North Dakota are upset over the tribal government’s decision on how and who will receive payouts associated with money from what has come to be known as the Salazar settlement.

Earlier this year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe received $48.9 million in funds associated with the historic Salazar settlement - colloquially named after Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the federal government’s lead named defendant in the case - that addressed the mismanagement of tribally held trust accounts by the federal government.

The tribe’s decision, however, to differentiate between those living on the Standing Rock Reservation and those living off the reservation when deciding how to distribute the funds has rubbed some tribal members the wrong way.

In response to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council’s initial decision to disburse the $48.9 million to on-reservation members only, several members from both off and on the reservation formed a grassroots organization called Active Citizens for Tribal Truth, whose nucleus is based on Standing Rock. The group was formed to hold tribal council accountable for fairly disbursing the Salazar settlement to all tribal members as well as to actively engage tribal citizens in governmental affairs.

Standing Rock member and Rapid City resident Ray High Eagle, who is involved with Active Citizens for Tribal Truth, or ACTT, says some tribal members living on Standing Rock have already received as much as $10,000 each from the settlement. High Eagle calls that per capita amount “unfair” and says all Standing Rock tribal members should share in the settlement.

ACTT has thus far met twice with the tribe’s council, according to High Eagle, to demand that off-reservation members receive per capita payments from the settlement as well. Following the second meeting and the threat of litigation in federal court by ACTT, said High Eagle, Standing Rock’s council has agreed to distribute payments to off-reservation members.

However, payments for those members living off Standing Rock won’t come until after the new year begins, while those living on reservation are scheduled to be completely paid out this month.

The group has requested $5,000 per tribal member residing in the Rapid City area, High Eagle said.

Neither the tribe’s chairman, Charles Murphy, nor vice chairman, Mike Faith, could immediately be reached for comment regarding distribution of the $48.9 million Salazar settlement.