The legal wrangling over the $3.4 billion settlement in the Cobell lawsuit appears to finally be at an end. Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans could see the first payments of a $3.4 billion U.S. government settlement by the end of the year, plaintiffs' attorneys said Monday. The settlement became final this month when the appeal period expired, following the Supreme Court’s refusal to accept another appeal petition.
The U.S. government will pay out $1.5 billion to two classes of beneficiaries. Each member of the first class will be paid $1,000. Each member of the second class will be paid $800 plus a share of the balance of the settlement funds as calculated by a formula based on the activity in their trust accounts. Another $1.9 billion will be used by the U.S. government to purchase fractionated land allotments from willing individuals, and turn those consolidated allotments over to the individual’s Tribe. An education scholarship fund for Native youth will also be established under the agreement.
Approximately 350,000 beneficiaries could start receiving $1,000 checks by Christmas, according to the plaintiffs' attorneys. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stated: "With the settlement now final, we can put years of discord behind us and start a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship," Salazar said.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT COBELL SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS, CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-961-6109