Law | National | Trust

Tribal leaders hail $1B in trust management settlements

[Audio of White House Event]

Tribal leaders joined the Obama administration today in announcing a $1 billion settlement to 41 trust management lawsuits.

The settlements were the result of 22 months of negotiations. They resolve claims that the federal government mismanaged billions of dollars in trust funds and trust assets.

"Today is a great day," Chief James Allan, the chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, said at the White House. "Today is a new day."

Negotiations began in the fall of 2009, according to a press release from the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice. It resulted in a tribally-driven "Settlement Proposal to Obama Administration" in April 2010 that prompted today's announcement.

"The seeds that we plant today will profit us in the future and continue for generations to come," said Gary Hayes, the chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of Colorado.

The 41 tribes that are a part of today's announcement come from nearly every region of Indian Country. Both Allan and Hayes said tribes will be able to use the settlement funds to help their communities with health care, education, law enforcement and other programs.

"These settlements are fundamental to the government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribes," Hayes observed. "These agreements mark a new beginning."

Separate from the tribes in today's announcement, the Obama administration has engaged in negotiations with other tribes. As many as 75 tribes in total may reach settlements, a White House official said last month.

Related Stories:
Ute Tribe in Utah announces trust management settlement (04/06)
Passamaquoddy Tribe reaches $11.4M trust fund settlement (4/2)
Colville Tribes debate uses for $193M trust fund settlement (03/30)
White House official also hopeful for tribal trust settlements (03/06)
Expect more announcements of tribal trust fund settlements (3/1)
Fort Peck Tribes reach $75M trust management settlement (2/28)
Colville Tribes reach $193M trust management settlement (2/27)

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