Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Jay Daniels: Land consolidation program isn't really working






Jay Daniels

Jay Daniels takes issue with the handling of the $1.4 billion Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations that was authorized by the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement:
Well, now we are finally in the midst of the Cobell Land Buy Back Program (“LBBP”) implementation, I’m wondering “did anything really happen? Cobell settled for $3.4 billion, including stipends for the lead plaintiffs, $1.9 billion for the LBBP to be used by tribes to acquire “highly fractionated interests” in individual Indian lands, attorney and consultant costs capped at $100,000 million, and $1.4 billion to Individual Indian Monies account owners.

Wow, $3.4 billion was awarded and a maximum of $1.4 billion be distributed to the class members and now turning into a when will it actually happen. Individual Indians are having carrots dangled in front of them only to have it jerked back and rescheduled. It sounds like a crazy concept that a class action agreement awards a settlement payment only to have a portion of the funds given to another entity to “buy away” their problem using their money award. Is anyone really that gullible? This has going on for years and continues. But, you need to know that in the background, nothing really changes. You can put a suit on a puppet, but it’s still a puppet.

The following is a must read to understand how this process is playing out. The Fort Peck Tribal Land Committee Chairman Grant Stafne expressed his concern that the Office of the Special Trustee’s Fiduciary (“OST”) Trust Officer(“FTO”) got his land sale approved so fast and brings up a question of conflict of interest. Another Tribal Councilman said it takes three months to a year to get an appraisal. He felt that there was an appearance of “cronyism.”

Get the Story:
Jay Daniels: Land Buy Back Program: Did anything really happen? (Roundhouse Talk 7/17)

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