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Cobell
Elouise Cobell provides update on status of trust fund settlement


Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, will be answering questions about the proposed settlement to the case. Cobell is a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana.

Dear Indian Country

This is the sixteenth letter in a series of open letters that I'm sending to Indian Country. The purpose of this letter is to update you about the settlement.

As I stated in my last Ask Elouise letter of November 22, 2010, the Senate passed the Cobell Settlement as part of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. Since that time, I and our Representatives have been advocating for the successful passage of our settlement to members of the House and their staffs. While never free from doubt, the House passed the implementing legislation on two separate occasions this year, so we have been optimistic that passage could happen before the close of this Congress.

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, the House took up consideration of the Claims Resolution Act, and subsequently passed the legislation. The bill now awaits the President's signature to become law.

I am extending my personal appreciation to every Member (and his or her staff) of the United States House of Representatives who voted for our legislation. Special thanks go to: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA); Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD); Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (WV), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Dale Kildee (MI), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Tom Cole (OK), Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (WI) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (MI).

It is my understanding that the President plans to sign the legislation into law sometime next week. Upon signing, enactment will be complete. Thereafter, we expect the judge to consider whether to grant preliminary approval of the settlement. If he preliminarily determines that the settlement is generally fair, you will be sent notice in the coming months about the terms of settlement. This notice will describe your rights and obligations under the settlement. You should take care to read all notices carefully. In the next Ask Elouise letter, I will describe this process in more detail.

Prior Ask Elouise letters can be found on the settlement website: http://cobellsettlement.com/class/ask_elouise.php.

We also have a "frequently asked questions" section to answer the most common questions we've received: http://cobellsettlement.com/press/faq.php.

With so many members of the class, I can’t answer every question that you send. The Ask Elouise letters will answer as many questions as possible that are relevant to the entire class.

The most common question I receive every week relates to whether someone is included in this settlement. Unfortunately, I do not have that information. The settlement agreement provides general guidelines (see also http://cobellsettlement.com/press/faq.php), but I also understand that many of you have unique or unusual circumstances, which make it unclear to me whether you are included in the settlement class. For those of you who still have questions, I recommend that you register to receive all Court-ordered communications to ensure you do not miss important information. There is no need to register if you are receiving a quarterly IIM statement. The Court ultimately will determine who is included in this settlement. Registration information can be found at the end of this and every Ask Elouise letter.

If you are not currently receiving an IIM statement from the government, please remember to register for correspondence over the Internet or by calling the number below.

Internet: https://cert.tgcginc.com/iim/register.php
Telephone: 1-800-961-6109

If you have a question, send an e-mail to: askelouise@cobellsettlement.com. Otherwise you can send me a letter to the address below. To expedite the processing of your letters our contractor has set up a post office box in Ohio, but I assure you this letter is coming from me and I will see your letters.

Ask Elouise
Cobell Settlement
PO Box 9577
Dublin, OH 43017-4877

Thank you and keep your questions coming!

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

Relevant Documents:
Elouise Cobell | President Obama | DOJ/DOI/USDA | Roll Call
NCAI | Sen. Dorgan | Sen. Baucus | Rep. Cole | Rep. Pallone

Related Stories:
Sen. Baucus to hold press conference in Montana for Cobell case (12/2)
Ken Salazar: Settlements fulfilling our promises in Indian Country (12/1)
CNC: Reaction from Elouise Cobell on final passage of settlement (12/1)
Cobell settlement heads to White House after clearing Congress (12/1)
House passes package with Cobell and tribal water settlements (11/30)
David Hayes: Settlements honor our pledges to First Americans (11/30)
Audio for White House conference call on Claims Settlement Act (11/29)
Editorial: House must take action to pass the Cobell settlement (11/29)
Editorial: Small slices of justice for Native American landowners (11/29)
Editorial: Indians in Montana benefit from claims settlement bill (11/29)
Elouise Cobell provides update about action on trust fund lawsuit (11/23)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chairman opposes Cobell settlement (11/23)
NPR: NCAI president discusses settlement of Indian trust lawsuit (11/23)
Editorial: Overdue justice for Indian landowners with settlement (11/23)
Senate finally approves $3.4B settlement for Indian trust lawsuit (11/22)
Congress heads back to DC with Cobell settlement still in limbo (11/15)
Sen. Tester worried about finding money to pay Cobell settlement (11/05)
Justice Department honors attorneys who work on Cobell case (10/27)
Cobell calls $3.5B settlement 'best we're going to get' in case (10/18)
Judge hopes for 'one last chance' for Congress to support Cobell (10/15)
Opinion: Time to pass Cobell and African-American settlements (10/08)
Elouise Cobell provides update about state of trust settlement (10/4)
Cobell worried about ties to African-American farmers lawsuit (10/4)
Cobell settlement changed to give more money to beneficiaries (10/1)
Elouise Cobell statement on lack of Senate vote for settlement (9/30)
Republican opposition kills vote on Cobell settlement in Senate (9/30)
Cobell probably not included in stopgap appropriations measure (9/28)
Cobell not included in bill for African-American farmer settlement (9/27)
Editorial: Time running out for Senate to act on Cobell settlement (9/24)
Marty Two Bulls: Something stinky about Cobell trust settlement (9/24)
John Boyd: Cobell lawsuit delaying African-American settlement (9/23)
African-American farmers don't want settlement linked to Cobell (9/22)
Shakopee Tribe awards $50K grant for Cobell case documentary (9/20)
White House asks Congress to fund $3.4B Cobell trust settlement (9/16)
Elouise Cobell: Sen. Barrasso needs to work for trust settlement (9/13)
Obama calls trust fund settlement 'priority' at press conference (9/13)