Saturday, December 12, 2009

American Indian Trust Suit Settled

For 13 years, Elouise Cobell and 500,000 American Indians have fought to win a class action law suit against the U.S. Government. The plaintiff accused the U.S. Department of Interior of mismanaging tribal trust funds that received money from the leasing of Native American lands. On December 8th, the parties settled on an agreement worth 3.4 billion dollars. 1.4 billion will be immediately distributed to the class members. 2 billion will be placed in another trust fund to buy family land parcels and consolidate them into tribal properties. In one situation, a 40-acre plot has over 400 owners from one family. The trust will try to buy the land from the family members and place the land under tribal stewardship for easier management. Finally, 6 million will go to youth education funds.

To learn more, visit articles in the New York Times, the WSJ LawBlog, and the Jurist.

To see government documents, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior online. There you can find the settlement, the press release, and other documents.