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DOI denies mismanagement of Indian trust funds

The Interior Department hasn't mismanaged the Indian trust and won't settle the Cobell v. Norton case for a payment, according to a spokesperson for Secretary Gale Norton.

The spokesperson said a proposed settlement of $27.4 billion is uncalled for because the Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts have few errors. The Bush administration has made the same claim for tribal accounts.

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the case, offered the $27.4 billion figure at a press conference on Monday. She was joined by Tex Hall, the president of the National Congress of American Indians; Jim Gray, the chief of the Osage Nation; and Sharon Clahchischilliage, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office in embracing a bill to settle the lawsuit and reform the trust system.

The team outlined 50 principles [PDF] to guide the effort. Legislation is expected to be introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) later this month.

Get the Story:
Indian Leaders Seek to Settle Lawsuit Over Leasing of Land (The Washington Post 6/21)
Attorney seeking billions for tribes (The Oklahoman 6/21)
Indian leaders establish amount (The Great Falls Tribune 6/21)
Navajo delegation lobbies Washington for land payment (The Farmington Daily Times 6/21)
Tribal leaders seek billions in settlement (Scripps Howard News Service 6/21)
American Indians seek settlement as part of trust reform legislation (The Federal Times 6/21)
Indians offer to settle lawsuit for $27.5 billion AP 6/21)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians -
Intertribal Trust Fund Monitoring Association -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Senate Indian Affairs Committee -

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