Editorial: Settlement in Cobell case is long overdue
"Congress and a federal judge are the last remaining hurdles in a settlement reached between the U.S. Department of Interior and Native American tribes nationwide.

If given final approval, the federal government will pay tribes $3.4 billion to settle decades-old disputes over royalties paid to tribes for oil, gas and grazing rights.

It's long overdue. We would encourage Congress to approve the settlement and ensure the distribution of funds is prompt and well managed.

The settlement would pay the tribes money they are owed for leases which were overseen by the Interior Department since 1887. If approved, every Native American tribe member with an Interior Department account would receive a check for $1,000, with other payments to follow; land payments would also be part of the equation. A $60 million scholarship account for tribal members to attend higher education would also be created. All told, it's being proposed $1.4 billion be paid to tribal members and $2 billion be used to consolidate fractured tribal lands.

The settlement is much less than originally sought but will offer some closure to a 13-year old dispute that has wound its way through the nation's courtrooms."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Cobell settlement is long overdue (The Rapid City Journal 12/16)

Relevant Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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