Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
ads@blueearthmarketing.com   712.224.5420

Trust
Jodi Rave: Interior mum on class action tribal suit


"The head of the Interior Department will be forced in 2007 to balance two major class-action lawsuits - one involving billions of dollars owed to a half-million individual Native landowners, and now a trust fund suit that includes more than 250 tribes.

The Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit law firm in Boulder, Colo., announced Wednesday the latest class-action filing in federal district court in Washington, D.C. The tribal trust fund suit seeks full and complete accountings from the Interior Department on tribal accounts worth an estimated $200 billion.

For tribes, Nez Perce vs. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, is almost two centuries overdue.

“This lawsuit is a reflection of a huge historical problem with the federal government's mismanagement of tribal trust accounts,” said Nez Perce Tribal Chairwoman Rebecca Miles. “We have tried to work with the agencies and we have tried to work with Congress. Our hope now is with the courts. We are pleased to step forward with NARF in leading this fight for Indian justice.”

For the Interior Department, the new suit nearly mirrors the decade-old Elouise Cobell vs. Kempthorne suit, which seeks a historical accounting of the individual trust fund money accounts managed by the department. Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton said the Cobell suit consumed the majority of her time in office.

Meanwhile, the department has nothing to say about the latest suit. “Our policy is we don't discuss pending litigation,” Interior spokesman Shane Wolf said Thursday. “That's the answer you'll get every time there's pending litigation.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Firm files suit over tribal trust funds (The Missoulian 1/5)

NARF Complaint:
Nez Perce Tribe v. Kempthorne (December 28, 2006)

DOJ Letter:
Opposition to Extending Statute of Limitations (December 2005)

Statute of Limitations Bill:
S.1892 | H.R.4292 | Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

Relevant Links:
Native American Rights Fund - http://www.narf.org
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne - http://www.indiantrust.com

Related Stories:
Tribes file huge trust accounting lawsuit (1/4)
Navajo Nation weighs trust lawsuit before deadline (11/3)
Tribal trust claims face challenge from Bush (10/31)
Cobell attorney criticizes Bush changes to bill (10/27)
Staff confirms Bush behind Cobell proposals (10/26)
Bush seeks major changes to Cobell bill (10/24)
Senate committee holds more Cobell meetings (10/23)
Time running out on Cobell settlement bill (10/23)
NCAI to consider resolution in support of Cobell bill (10/6)
Latest delay in Cobell settlement tied to White House (10/3)
Cobell: Interior mishandles Indian money too (10/2)
Osage Nation wins major trust fund ruling (09/25)
Navajo woman fights for trust fund accountability (9/25)
Senate committee sends Cobell letter to Kempthorne (9/18)
Interior delays Cobell settlement legislation (9/15)
Great Plains tribes to discuss breach of trust claims (09/14)
McCain firm on $8B settlement for Cobell (9/5)
Congress extends deadline to file tribal trust claims (01/13)
Statute of limitations about to run out on tribal trust (12/07)
Senate committee takes up slate of Indian bills (10/27)
Senate Indian Affairs sets business meeting (10/20)
Supreme Court refuses Bush appeal of trust case (04/19)
Supreme Court to weigh appeal of trust lawsuit (04/07)
Bush administration won't give up fight on Cobell (03/18)
McCain weighs GAO probe of Indian trust debacle (03/10)
McCain lays out Indian agenda for 109th Congress (3/7)
Wind River Tribes settle some trust claims for $12M (06/11)
Wyoming tribes win appeal of breach of trust lawsuit (04/08)
Appeals court revives Wind River royalty fraud case (4/7)
Judge advances suit over royalty mismanagement (10/03)
Osage Nation trust suit survives first test (07/31)
Judge upholds ongoing trust relationship (04/29)
Navajo Nation fallout considered (3/7)
Navajo Nation's Peabody lawsuit to continue (3/7)
Supreme Court issues trust decisions (3/4)
Supreme Court upholds common law trust claim (3/5)
High court ruling makes 'passive' trustee of U.S. (3/5)
A mixed bag for Indian trust (3/5)
Supreme Court offers split victory on trust (3/5)
Supreme Court issues trust decisions (3/4)
Tribes mired in trust fund resolution (6/7)
Trust accounting looms for tribes (3/20)
GAO: Full reconciliation impossible (2/8)