The recent Cobell settlement law will ultimately provide $3.4 Billion in cash payments to Native Americans who have ownership rights in one or both of two categories:
Payments for Individual Money Accounts: Congress has allocated $1.4 Billion to compensate Native Americans who hold government issued Individual Money Accounts, which were supposed to receive deposits from the federal government from sources such as lease revenues from oil drilling on Tribal land. People who hold Individual Money Accounts will receive varying sums of money from the settlement, depending on the determination of how much money the government should have allocated to a person’s account over the years.
Payments for Land Shares: Congress has allocated $2 Billion to buy back the “fractionated” land shares held by many Native Americans, which have often resulted in dozens of people being owners of a small percentage of a piece of land that previously belonged to their Tribe. People who hold these ownership shares in land will have the option to sell them back to the government, which will then turn the land back over to the Tribe to be placed in trust. The amount of money the government will pay for a given share of land ownership has not yet been determined.
If you are not currently receiving quarterly or annual IIM account statements and believe you are part of this Settlement, you must File a Claim / Register to Participate. You can File a Claim / Register to Participate online or print out a paper Claim Form that you can fill out and submit by mail.
If you are currently receiving quarterly or annual IIM account statements, you should still complete if you also:
- Believe you owned an interest in trust or restricted land on September 30, 2009; or
- Believe you had an IIM account open sometime between 1985 and September 30, 2009 and are not receiving current statements on that account; or
- Want to establish your status as an heir to a deceased IIM account holder or individual landowner.
The information that you provide on the Claim Form will only be used to process your claim and to update Department of the Interior records.