indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Congress debates resolution of trust fund case
Thursday, October 30, 2003

The head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee warned on Wednesday that impatient lawmakers will take control of the Indian trust fund lawsuit unless a resolution is developed soon.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) said he wasn't happy with an appropriations rider that delays a court-ordered accounting of at least $13 billion in Indian funds. But he said it gave the plaintiffs in the case and the federal government time to work towards a settlement.

"We have to find a solution or it's just simply going to be taken away from us," he told attendees of a hearing.

Campbell also said he was concerned that the Bush administration is behind legislative efforts to terminate the case. For two years in a row, the Department of Interior's budget bill has contained riders targeting the seven-year-old class action, which represents more than 500,000 American Indian account holders.

"I got the feeling that, very frankly, part of this was driven by the administration," he observed. "Is it the department's strategy to insert language in appropriation bills to make this problem go away?"

Jim Cason, the assistant deputy Interior secretary, denied any knowledge of involvement. He said he didn't know if anyone at the department drafted, suggested or otherwise lobbied for the language, which puts off the accounting for a year while Congress develops the "scope" of the massive undertaking.

"I can't attest to who who specifically ram-rodded the effort," Cason told the committee. He chose his words carefully and said he had not seen the rider until yesterday.

Campbell is a member of a joint Senate-House conference committee that negotiated the Department of Interior's $20 billion appropriations bill. It was finalized Monday night but not delivered to most lawmakers until the following day.

The package is currently being debated on the House floor. As expected, lawmakers voted with their party yesterday to adopt a resolution that left the rider intact. The roll call was 289 to 136.

Starting this morning, several Indian Country advocates will launch an effort to send the bill back to the conference committee for further work. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the ranking member, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and others will argue against the rider.

Yesterday's Senate hearing focused on a bill Campbell has introduced to settle the case by creating a new bureaucracy to determine the balances of Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. It met opposition from the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.

John Echohawk, NARF's executive director, said it ignored basic principles of trust law that the plaintiffs have secured as part of the case. NCAI President Tex Hall called it a "quick fix" to a century-old problem. Osage Chief Jim Gray said it could adversely affect members of his tribe, who have million-dollar interests in oil and gas.

Cason also testified that the Bush administration doesn't support the S.1770, the Indian Money Account Claim Satisfaction Act. as drafted. The testimony prompted Campbell to renew calls to devise a mediated process to settle the case. For the first time, Cason said the department supported mediation although the pledge has yet to be put into writing.

Echohawk and Hall backed mediation, which they supported at a hearing in June. The plaintiffs and NCAI have drafted several principles they believe should guide the process.

To prevent future appropriations attacks, Campbell said participation from the plaintiffs, tribal leaders and the administration was crucial. "S.1770 is certainly not a perfect bill," he said. "We just can't find a solution by ourselves."

After the resolution on the bill was approved around 12:30 p.m. yesterday, House leaders pulled it from further action Debate is expected to resume today at 10 a.m.

The language in the conference committee report delaying the accounting states:
That nothing in the American Indian Trust Management Reform Act of 1994, Public Law 103-412, or in any other statute, and no principle of common law, shall be construed or applied to require the Department of the Interior to commence or continue historical accounting activities with respect to the Individual Indian Money Trust until the earlier of the following shall have occurred: (a) Congress shall have amended the American Indian Trust Management Reform Act of 1994 to delineate the specific historical accounting obligations of the Department of the Interior with respect to the Individual Indian Money Trust; or (b) December 31, 2004

Conference Committee Report:
House Report. 108-330

DOI Budget Bills:
H.R.2691 | H.Rept.108-195 | S.1391 | S.Rept.108-89

Relevant Bills:
Campbell: Indian Money Account Claim Satisfaction Act of 2003 (S.1770) | Daschle: Indian Trust Payment Equity Act of 2003 (S.1540)

Congressional Native American Caucus Letter:
J.D. Hayworth/Dale Kildee (October 17, 2003)

Court Decisions:
Historical Accounting | Fixing the System | Structural Injunction

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust

Related Stories:
Battle brews in House over DOI budget bill (10/30)
Cobell rallies support for trust fund case (10/28)
DOI bill halts Indian trust fund case (10/24)
Bill targets Indian trust fund suit (10/22)
House chairman supports self-governance rider (10/14)
Self-governance tribes fear impact of reorganization (10/09)
Lamberth lays out future of Indian trust reform (09/26)
Court report finds undervaluation of Navajo lands (08/21)
Administration eyes consolidation of Indian appraisals (08/15)
Tally for private attorney fees in Cobell case rises (07/24)
Congress hacks Bush's accounting funds (7/16)
Swimmer partly right on trust fund rider (7/14)
Bush official balks at large settlement for Cobell (7/10)
On trust, lawmakers take Bush officials at face value (06/25)
Private attorneys reap benefits on Cobell case (06/24)
Norton offered settlement funds for IIM trust (6/20)
Lamberth criticizes interference with trust fund case (05/22)
Bush administration turns to Congress on trust (04/04)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

WNV: Puyallup Tribe enters battle against natural gas terminal in Washington
Mark Trahant: Learning from history to see why the Trump presidency is over
Harold Monteau: Donald Trump needs White supremacists to remain in office
Trump defends groups 'innocently' protesting removal of Confederate statue
New York Times turns to Native Americans for Conversation on Race project
Crow Tribe votes on potential changes to constitution despite court decision
Grand Traverse Band wasn't consulted about visit by Columbus replica ships
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate celebrates release of bald eagle that had been shot
Klamath Tribes break ground on hotel as part of long-term casino expansion
Wilton Rancheria continues to see litigation over casino project in California
Energy firm seeks to keep illegal pipeline in place over objections of landowners
North Dakota secures $10 million in federal funds to pay for #NoDAPL response
Arne Vainio: Tough patient turns out to be a warrior with a promise to his brother
Mary Annette Pember: True Sioux Hope Foundation brings donors to Pine Ridge
Steve Russell: Poverty in Indian Country -- and in America -- is really about race
Dakota Access Pipeline dragging out dispute over disturbance of tribal artifacts
Trump offers late rebuke to 'White supremacists' as industry leaders quit council
Seneca Nation citizen maintains 5-year protest against NFL team's racist legacy
Oneida Nation starts construction of third casino as outlet mall remains on hold
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still confident as Trump team reviews casino plan
Tribes report mixed results in slot machine revenues at casinos in Connecticut
Trump administration abandons tribes in battle over boundaries of reservation
Yurok Tribe forced to rely on outside salmon again as yearly festival approaches
Zenobia Jeffries: Media must be honest about planned race riot in Charlottesville
DVIDS: Military partnership brings health care to Round Valley Indian Reservation
Sandra LaFleur: Let's return to our traditions by restoring power to Native women
Harold Monteau: Democrats need to get their act together in new election season
Northern Arapaho Tribe reclaims remains of students who died at Carlisle school
Elouise Cobell's family brings Presidential Medal of Freedom to Blackfeet Nation
Department of Justice opens civil rights investigation into Charlottesville death
Muscogee Nation issues citizenship to former police officer accused of murder
Tim Giago: Broken treaties remain among America's deepest and darkest secrets
Oglala Sioux Tribe secures restitution for funds stolen by former district official
Appeals court schedules hearing in long-running Mechoopda Tribe gaming case
Pit boss and patron plead in blackjack scam at Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate casino
Doug Steiger: Reform the Indian Health Service by looking at tribal success stories
Young indigenous activist fights Trump administration in climate change lawsuit
Kialegee Tribal Town warned not to engage in gaming on allotment in Oklahoma
Mark Trahant: Prepare for a big mess when Congress returns to work in September
Cronkite News: Most Native families aren't speaking their own languages at home
Agua Caliente Band faces opposition from states as high court weighs water case
Crow Tribe mourns shooting victims as details remain scarce about triple homicide
Non-Indian man sentenced to life in prison for murder, assault on Crow Reservation
Aquinnah Wampanoag citizen aims to make history with Massachusetts campaign
Cherokee Nation ready to move forward with opioid lawsuit in tribal court system
Wiyot Tribe questions attempt to buy ancestral island that was site of massacre
Southern Ute Tribe offers $1 million matching grant for KSUT public radio station
Jim Cooper: Wilton Rancheria casino brings benefits to everyone in our community
Sara Trechter: County wastes more than $600,000 battling Mechoopda Tribe casino
Anticipation builds as Indian Country calls for shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline
Brian Lightfoot Brown: Welcome to the oldest recorded powwow in North America
Cronkite News: Backlogs at immigration courts reach a record high in Trump era
Mary Annette Pember: School offers safe place for girls on Pine Ridge Reservation
Alex Jacobs: Beware the new 'tribalism' in American politics with Donald Trump
Muscogee Nation welcomes decision affirming the boundaries of its reservation
Crow Tribe weighs stronger response after site of triple homicide burns to ground
White Earth Nation looks to diversify economy with first hemp crop on reservation
Nooksack Tribe loses federal health care funds as disenrollment drama drags on
Miccosukee Tribe can't be sued by attorneys who received $4 million settlement
Mapuche activists evicted from land protest on ancestral territory in Argentina
Casino opponents ask Supreme Court to hear Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe case
Ho-Chunk Nation outlines optimistic schedule for stalled off-reservation casino
Seneca Nation plans meeting with state to discuss future of gaming compact
Chukchansi Tribe secures dismissal of lawsuit seeking $21 million from casino
Muscogee Nation citizen wins reversal of death penalty conviction in Oklahoma
Morongo Band enters into agreement to assist tribal veterans with housing loans
Senate approves bill to designate clinic in honor of late veteran Joe Medicine Crow
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.