WASHINGTON — American Indians with federal trust accounts soon will be receiving notification about their rights to participate in the $3.4 billion settlement approved last year in the class-action lawsuit known as Cobell, the Interior Department announced Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of Indians across the country will receive detailed information through the mail. The department also is conducting an extensive media campaign. The notifications are part of the court-ordered process in the long-running and contentious case; the settlement has yet to receive formal approval by the U.S. district judge overseeing the case.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “The court-ordered process is now spreading the word so individual Indian trust account holders can understand what their rights are and how they can participate in the settlement.”
The settlement followed more than 14 years of litigation in federal district and appeals courts in Washington over the mismanagement of individual Indian trust accounts by the U.S. government. The accounts hold the proceeds from land leased for oil and gas drilling, grazing, timber cutting and other uses.
How to get
Those Indians who currently receive individual Indian money account statements don't have to do anything to receive a payment from the settlement. Those who don't receive statements and who don't get a notification, but believe they're entitled to
a payment, should call
(800) 961-6109 or fill out a claim form available at www.indian