Law | National | Trust

Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation celebrate trust settlement

YouTube: Secretary of Interior Jewell Press Conference / Choctaw Nation

The Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation hosted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Oklahoma on Tuesday to sign a $186 million trust fund settlement.

The tribes accused the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury of mismanaging their trust assets and trust funds dating back to the early 1900s. The settlement resolves a lawsuit they filed in 2005.

"This historic settlement is the start of a new chapter in our trust relationships with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, and underscores our commitment to fulfilling those responsibilities to Native communities across the country," Jewell said in a press release.

The Choctaw Nation, the larger of the two tribes, will receive $139.5 million from the settlement. Chief Gary Batton said the money will be invested in the community.

From left: Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton sign a historic settlement agreement in Durant, Oklahoma, on October 6, 2015. Photo from Chickasaw Nation

"We plan for the proceeds to be invested in our people – expanding education, creating jobs, promoting economic development and culture, as well as a portion to be invested in a sustainability fund for the future of our citizens," Batton said in the DOI press release.

The Chickasaw Nation will receive $46.5 million. Gov. Bill Anoatubby said a portion will be invested to finance programs and services.

"We believe this settlement offers a unique opportunity to invest in the future of our children and grandchildren," Anoatuby said in a press release.

Although the federal government did not admit any wrongdoing, one of the biggest issues in the case was the sale of more than 1.3 million acres of valuable timberland in the southeastern portion of the state. The tribes had argued that the sales occurred without their consent and in violation of the Five Civilized Tribes Act of 1906.

The Obama administration has settled a total of 86 tribal trust mismanagement cases since January 2009. The dollar value has reached $2.8 billion.

The administration also settled the Cobell lawsuit affecting individual Indians for $3.4 billion.

Get the Story:
U.S.Government, tribes announce historic settlement worth millions (The Oklahoman 10/7)
Chickasaw and Choctaw nations settlement over handling of tribal resources announced (The Tulsa World 10/7)
Historic settlement signed between Choctaw, Chickasaw, federal government (The Sherman Denison Herald Democrat 10/7)
U.S. Secretary of Interior Announces $186 Million Settlement with Two Texoma Tribes (KTEN 10/6)
Federal Government, Oklahoma Tribes Reach $186 Million Settlement (KGOU 10/6)

Relevant Documents:
Joint Stipulation | Order Approving Joint Stipulation | Choctaw Nation Resolution | Chickasaw Nation Resolution

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