NewStandard: Tribes turn to court over trust funds

"Native Americans filed a class-action lawsuit last month in another attempt to end a decades-long struggle with the government over the mismanagement of tribal trust funds.

The nonprofit Native American Rights Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of over 250 Indian tribes. The plaintiffs are seeking accurate accountings from the US Department of the Interior (DOI) for money that is held in trust funds for Indians by the federal government. The money, which is generated from drilling, foresting, and other activities that take place on Native American property, is collected for dispersal by the government.

The suit alleges that tribal trust-fund accountings completed by the firm Arthur Anderson on behalf of the government were not complete and that the tribes have never been given full information about account transactions and how much money is in their trust funds.

The suit is asking the court to force the government to correct trust-fund balances using complete accounting.

As previously reported by The NewStandard, the mismanagement of Native American trust funds reaches back to the 19th Century, when the US government broke reservations into 80- to 160-acre parcels of land and allotted ownership to individual Native Americans.

Most beneficiaries, however, have seen little or no money from their trust and have not been provided accurate records of how much money they should have received."

Get the Story:
Tribes Turn to Court over Trust-Fund 'Mismanagement' (The NewStandard 1/8)

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 -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne -

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Interior mum on class action tribal suit (1/5)
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)