The American Indian College Fund will be administering the scholarship fund that was created by the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today.
The settlement authorizes up to $60 million in scholarships for Indian students. The money can be used at tribal colleges, vocational institutions and at public and private universities.
“This Scholarship Fund for Native American students will be a lasting, meaningful legacy of the Cobell Settlement that will help strengthen Indian communities, advance tribal progress and secure a better future for the First Americans,” Salazar said.
Salazar said a portion of the annual scholarships, 20 percent, can be used for graduate studies. The American Indian Graduate Center will be awarding those scholarships.
The settlement requires a board of trustees to oversee the scholarship fund. The Interior Department and the Cobell plaintiffs will each choose two members. The American Indian College Fund will choose one member.
“In selecting these qualified organizations and in seeking the best trustees to oversee this educational fund, we are honoring Eloise Cobell and helping to empower Indian Country," Salazar said, referring to lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, who died October 2011.
"My mother, Elouise Cobell, cared deeply about the next generation of Native people and she insisted on this scholarship as part of the settlement,” added Turk Cobell. “It is a fitting tribute to her courageous work and will be a longstanding and appropriate legacy of her extraordinary
perseverance and vision."
Turk Cobell is one of the plaintiffs' picks for the board. The other is Alex Pearl, a law professor who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.
Nominations for DOI's two members of the board must be postmarked or emailed no later than Thursday, April 11. Candidates must send curriculum vitae, a letter of intent which indicates a willingness to serve, and a 250-word statement to:
Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW, Room 6118
Washington, DC 20240