Ramah settlement funds finally released by Obama administration

Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele speaks at the Ramah settlement announcement in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on September 17, 2015. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs / Twitter

The federal government has finally paid the $940 million settlement in the Ramah Navajo contract support costs case, attorneys announced last week.

The settlement resolves underpayments in self-determination contracts at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribes fought to be fully paid for years until the Obama administration agreed to resolve the case last September.

But the checks aren't in the mail yet. According to the attorneys, there's some additional housekeeping required before claim forms can be sent to the class members that participated in the case.

"The Claim Forms will contain a specific dollar share for each Class Member, based on the percentage shares in the Final Settlement Agreement, as modified by Court order when additional Class Members were discovered," the attorneys wrote in an August 3 update.

Once those forms are signed and returned to the court-approved settlement administrator, class members can finally receive their share of the settlement.

As for the housekeeping, it affects tribes that owe money to the federal government. The Treasury Offset Program will determine how much to deduct from those class members' awards, according to the attorneys.

After being announced in September 2015, the $940 million settlement was approved in court on February 23, 2016. Since then, it's accrued $7,965,659.39 in post-judgment interest, the attorneys said.

A document on rncsettlement.com lists the amounts going to the 699 tribes and tribal organizations that participated in the case.

Ramah Navajo Chapter Settlement Documents:
DOI Press Release | Ramah Navajo Chapter Press Release | Oglala Sioux Tribe Press Release | Zuni Pueblo Press Release | Attorneys Press Release | Settlement Q&A

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