Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Trust

Interior Department begins consultation for land consolidation





The Interior Department will hold the first consultation meeting for the land consolidation portion of the Indian trust fund settlement in Billings, Montana, tomorrow.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Deputy Secretary David Hayes are attending the session. They will hear from tribal leaders about the $1.9 billion that's being used to buy highly fractionated interests from willing landowners.

“These consultations mark a new beginning and a time to move forward with a new sense of pride," Hayes said in a press release. "They are fundamental to respecting the government-to-government relationship with the tribes and fulfilling the Department of the Interior’s trust obligations in a more pro-active, transparent and customer-friendly manner."

The department will hold five more sessions throughout Indian Country in the coming months. They will take place Thursday, August 18, 2011, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Friday, September 16, 2011, in Seattle, Washington; Tuesday, September 27, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Thursday, September 29, 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona; and Thursday, October 6, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma..

In addition to attending the consultation, Salazar and Hayes will visit the Crow Reservation to celebrate the Crow Indian Water Rights Settlement that was enacted by Congress and approved by members of the Crow Tribe. Money is already being released to the tribe from the deal.

Related Stories:
DOI consultation meetings on land consolidation start in July (6/14)
DOI to announce consultation process on land consolidation (6/2)