Native Sun News: Appeal delays release of Keepseagle checks

Members of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching tour the Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2012. Photo by Lance Cheung / USDA

Appeal delays payment of Keepseagle money
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

PORTLAND, Ore. –– Keepseagle vs Vilsack claimants who were hoping to receive a supplemental payment of $21,275 sometime this summer will have to wait for the outcome of an appeal filed by the ex-husband of one of the lead plaintiffs.

“On June 20, 2016, Keith Mandan filed an appeal of the District Court’s ruling granting modification of the settlement agreement. That ruling, described in detail below, provided for a payment of $18,500 to each prevailing claimant, along with $2,775 to the IRS on behalf of each claimant. However, under the terms of that modification, those payments cannot be made until the appeal is concluded and the District Court’s order affirmed. We hope that the appeal will be ruled on by June 2017. We regret that we cannot make any payments prior to resolution of the appeal,” a statement issued by the Keepseagle v. Vilsack Settlement website reads.

Mandan, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Tribe in North Dakota argues that a recent decision on how the government would disburse the unclaimed millions in the Keepseagle vs Vilsack class action lawsuit would be distributed to “undeserving third parties.”

According to information from the Keepseagle vs Vilsack website after the supplemental awards are paid to the prevailing claimants, most of the remaining unclaimed (cy pres) funds would be placed in a Trust Fund that would be disbursed over a 20 year period.

The site states that decisions on how the Trust Fund would be distributed would be made by a board of trustees comprised of members of 14 Native American tribes. The Native American Agriculture Fund Board of trustees members were to be Sherry Black, Oglala Lakota; Charles Graham, Lumbee; Pat Gwin, Cherokee Nation; Joseph Hiller, Oglala Sioux; H. Porter Holder, Choctaw; Marilyn Keepseagle, Standing Rock Sioux; Jim Laducer, Turtle Mountain Chippewa; Paul Lumley, Yakama; Claryca Mandan, MHA, Three Affiliated Tribes; Elsie Meeks, Oglala Sioux; Monica Nuvamsa, Hopi; Ross Racine, Blackfeet; Michael Roberts, Tlingit; and Rick Williams, Oglala Sioux.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Appeal delays payment of Keepseagle money

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

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