Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Education | National

Interior Department sends more money for Cobell scholarships






The late Elouise Cobell meets President Barack Obama at the White House on December 8, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The Interior Department transferred nearly $500,000 to the Cobell scholarship fund, officials announced on Wednesday.

The fund that was created by the $3.4 billion settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit now boasts a balance of about $40 million. So far, about $2.2 million has been distributed in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who are members of federally recognized tribes.

"With every new contribution, the scholarship fund will enable increasing numbers of Native American students across Indian Country to gain the advanced education and training that will help them meet the leadership challenges of the 21st century," Solicitor Hilary Tompkins, a member of the Navajo Nation who negotiated the settlement on behalf of the department, said in a press release. "They are pursuing their dreams, opening doors to new opportunities, preparing themselves for leadership and advancing self-determination for their communities – all thanks to the vision of Elouise Cobell, whose life and legacy inspires and guides this noble initiative."

The scholarship is seeded with proceeds from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. A portion of every purchase goes into the fund as Indian landowners are paid for their fractional interests, which are then returned to tribal governments.

The settlement allows up to $60 million to be deposited for scholarships. The board of trustees that oversees the fund, however, will manage the money in order to keep the program going for as long as possible.

"The latest distribution aids our mission of carrying out the vision of Elouise Cobell to enhance educational opportunities for American Indians and Alaskan Native students," said Alex Pearl, a member of the Chickasaw Nation. "With the beginning of the new school year, we are excited to continue awarding the talented students in Indian Country."

The latest round of awards went out to 733 students this month, Indigenous Education announced on Facebook. The non-profit is administering the fund on behalf of the Cobell scholarship board.

The Interior Department makes transfers to the scholarship fund every quarter.

Related Stories:
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (05/26)
Cobell scholarship fund grows to nearly $39M with latest DOI transfer (04/12)
Cobell scholarship board chooses new entity to administer funds (03/23)
DOI transfers another $4M to Cobell settlement scholarship fund (01/06)
Cobell scholarship fund now boasts nearly $30M from settlement (10/01)
Cobell scholarship fund now boasts nearly $20M from settlement (07/09)
Lakota Country Times: Cobell scholarship fund being put to use (04/27)
Applications available for Cobell settlement scholarship funds (04/20)
DOI transfers another $12M from buy-back to scholarship fund (04/02)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (03/25)
DOI puts nearly $1M from land sales into Cobell scholarship fund (01/06)
DOI puts another $1M from lands sales into Cobell scholarships (10/01)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (08/28)
David Gipp from UTTC joins Cobell scholarship board of trustees (08/13)
DOI puts another $2.9M from land sales into Cobell scholarships (07/01)
DOI announces transfer of nearly $580K for Cobell scholarships (04/02)
DOI announces two choices for Cobell scholarship board (1/15)
Kevin Washburn to host conference call on Cobell scholarships (4/18)
DOI seeks nominations for Cobell settlement scholarship board (03/13)
American Indian College Fund to administer Cobell scholarships (03/12)