Alaska Native family sues BIA over oil development
An Inupiat Eskimo family is claiming up to $200 million in damages, saying the Bureau of Indian Affairs failed to monitor oil development on an allotment on Alaska's North Slope.

The Oengas say the BIA didn't collect proper rent on the use of the 40-acre allotment. A judge from the Court of Federal Claims will determine how much money, if any, is owed to the family.

Andrew Oenga was an Inupiat whale hunter who needed an interpreter to sign a lease with BP. He agreed to $16,000 plus a $25,000 signing bonus in 1989.

After he died, his heirs negotiated a new lease for $80,000 a year. They say BP is using their land to tap major oil deposits and has allowed other companies to trespass.

Get the Story:
Eskimo family seeks $200 million in oil-field spat (The Anchorage Daily News 5/18)

Court of Federal Claims Decision:
Oenga v. US (September 18, 2008)

Related Stories:
BIA tells oil company to stop drilling on Inupiat land (1/19)