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Payments to begin soon for Indian trust account holders

With legal challenges to the historic Cobell settlement ended, the federal government will send out payments of $1,000 that may reach Indians within weeks. An estimated 50,000 in Oklahoma will be included.
by Chris Casteel Published: November 26, 2012
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The federal government fought the Indian account holders for years in a case that went through three judges and numerous appeals. The Obama administration brokered a settlement that was approved by Congress in late 2010 and by a federal judge in August 2011.

Payments have been delayed by four account holders who challenged the settlement. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge last month, paving the way for the payments to begin.

Of the $3.4 billion settlement, more than $1.4 billion will be used to make payments to Indians who have or had trust accounts within certain date ranges. For many, the payment will be a flat $1,000, while others will get additional amounts based on how much revenue was received in their accounts.

The settlement includes another $1.9 billion to buy parcels of land that have been divided up numerous times over generations and don't generate enough income to justify the management costs.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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