Elouise Cobell provides update on status of trust fund settlement

Elouise Cobell provides update on status of trust fund settlement
Friday, December 3, 2010

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, will be answering questions about the proposed settlement to the case. Cobell is a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana.

Dear Indian Country

This is the sixteenth letter in a series of open letters that I'm sending to Indian Country. The purpose of this letter is to update you about the settlement.

As I stated in my last Ask Elouise letter of November 22, 2010, the Senate passed the Cobell Settlement as part of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. Since that time, I and our Representatives have been advocating for the successful passage of our settlement to members of the House and their staffs. While never free from doubt, the House passed the implementing legislation on two separate occasions this year, so we have been optimistic that passage could happen before the close of this Congress.

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, the House took up consideration of the Claims Resolution Act, and subsequently passed the legislation. The bill now awaits the President's signature to become law.

I am extending my personal appreciation to every Member (and his or her staff) of the United States House of Representatives who voted for our legislation. Special thanks go to: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA); Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD); Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (WV), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Dale Kildee (MI), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Tom Cole (OK), Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (WI) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (MI).

It is my understanding that the President plans to sign the legislation into law sometime next week. Upon signing, enactment will be complete. Thereafter, we expect the judge to consider whether to grant preliminary approval of the settlement. If he preliminarily determines that the settlement is generally fair, you will be sent notice in the coming months about the terms of settlement. This notice will describe your rights and obligations under the settlement. You should take care to read all notices carefully. In the next Ask Elouise letter, I will describe this process in more detail.

Prior Ask Elouise letters can be found on the settlement website: http://cobellsettlement.com/class/ask_elouise.php.

We also have a "frequently asked questions" section to answer the most common questions we've received: http://cobellsettlement.com/press/faq.php.