Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

S.E. Ruckman: Making plans for $3.4B Cobell settlement payout





"Sometimes words just stick together and a phrase is born. Online digging says that centuries ago coining a phrase was usually for promotional purposes. Suddenly the words “Cobell warming” stuck in my head like a commercial jingle.

I defend my pun because we were, after all, nearing mail-outs of the landmark $3.4 billion Cobell trust case. The half-inch thick booklet I got at one of the sponsored meetings informed us the settlement could possibly mean a minimum $1,000 for each Individual Indian Money (IIM) holder through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Cash on the barrel head (another coined phrase, I add).

Admittedly, a recent appeal to the Cobell decision has halted check mail outs for the near future. That and there’s still a few tribal leader consultations scheduled regionally. In any case, the chattering has started amongst beneficiaries of this class-action lawsuit. Most have gotten their computer printed letter from the Bureau telling them that they are eligible. Cobell warming is a reality, I tell you.

Not surprisingly IIM holders are starting to calculate what they may do with their unsolicited windfalls. The plans are veritable. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re going to the casino (to take their entire family to the tribe’s sit-down buffet). But I’ve heard serious plans for the payout, too. One of my Comanche relatives is waiting on the money to make the down payment on braces for her only child."

Get the Story:
S.E. RUCKMAN: 'Cobell Warming' (The Native American Times 9/16)

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S.E. Ruckman: Infomercials a new trend for tribes in Oklahoma (8/25)