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On December 7, 2009, the Obama Administration announced a proposed $3.4 billion Class Action Settlement Agreement for Cobell v. Salazar. Under the proposed agreement, $1.4 billion would go towards more than 300,000 individual Indians to resolve historical accounting claims, and to establish and settle a new class of claims relating to resource mismanagement, which were not part of the Cobell lawsuit. In addition, $2 billion will be made available to the Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of acquiring highly fractionated Indian lands under current Indian land consolidation laws, to fund an Indian scholarship fund, and for a Secretarial Commission on trust reform. The proposed Settlement is subject to authorization by Congress and final approval of the Court.

On December 8, 2010 President Obama signed legislation approving the Cobell settlement.

Related Links:

  • Modification of December 7, 2009 Settlement Agreement. (Extends the expiration date of the proposed Settlement to February 28, 2010)
  • Second modification of December 7, 2009 Settlement Agreement. (Extends the expiration of the proposed Settlement to April 16, 2010)
  • Published transcript of the Committee on Natural Resources March 10, 2010 oversight hearing on the proposed Settlement.
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia April 8, 2010 Transcript of Status Conference on the proposed Settlement - federal judge indicates the Settlement expiration date will be extended until the end of May 2010.
  • January 28, 2010 letter from Intertribal Monitoring Association on Indian Trust Funds, commenting on the proposed Settlement.
  • February 24, 2010 letter from Ranking Member Doc Hastings to the Departments of Interior and Justice asking for information about terms and conditions of the proposed Settlement.
  • Written responses from the Intertribal Monitoring Association to questions submitted by the Committee pursuant to the March 10, 2010 hearing.
  • Written questions submitted on March 12, 2010, to Elouise Cobell by the Committee pursuant to the March 10, 2010 hearing. (The Committee has not yet received a response.)
  • Side agreement on attorney fees dated December 7, 2009. Under this agreement, which is not attached to the main Cobell Settlement Agreement, the Obama Administration agrees that Plaintiff attorneys will be paid $50 million to $99.9 million for worked incurred through December 7, 2009. It also provides additional payments of up to $10 million for fees and expenses work incurred after December 7, 2009.
  • Senator John Barrasso letter seeking Indian Country comment on proposed amendments to the Settlement.
  • Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians’ May 20, 2010 resolution supporting the five improvements first outlined in an April letter to tribal leaders from Senator John Barrasso.
  • June 23, 2010, National Congress of American Indians resolution supporting the proposed Cobell settlement and requesting additional considerations.

Related Videos:

Rep. Hastings Floor Statement on his Amendment to the Cobell Settlement Agreement, U.S. House Floor (May 28, 2010)

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