Tribes complain about NCAI letter on Cobell trust settlement
The National Congress of American Indians is facing some backlash over a letter that President Jefferson Keel wrote about the $3.4 billion settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit.

NCAI's officially supports a settlement. But the letter raised concerns in Indian Country because it discussed a controversial amendment that the plaintiffs and the Obama administration say will kill the deal.

NCAI executive director Jackie Johnson-Pata went on Native America Calling on Tuesday and said the letter has been widely misinterpreted. "I'm here to clarify that NCAI firmly supports a settlement," she said.

But tribal leaders have been calling and writing NCAI to complain, the group's communications director told The Great Falls Tribune. And NCAI issued a statement that said it has not taken a position for or against the amendment.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is pushing the amendment as part of H.R.4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act: Section 607 of the bill authorizes the settlement.

The House passed the bill after a committee rejected an attempt to change the settlement by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), who offered an amendment that was the same as Barrasso's.

Get the Story:
Indian trust settlement deadline delayed again (The Great Falls Tribune 6/17)

American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act:
Press Release: Baucus, Levin To Release Joint Legislation To Create Jobs, Extend Tax Cuts for Families and Businesses, Support Americans Looking for Work | Background and More Information

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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