By Tristan Ahtone
LARAMIE, wyo – Plaintiffs in the class-action Indian Trust Settlement will have to wait until November to see if the suit will finally be settled. The U-S Senate adjourned Wednesday without giving the Obama administration the authority to settle the 3.4-billion dollar lawsuit.
The 14-year-old suit accuses the government of mismanaging nearly 150-billion dollars in royalties. The federal government has held those royalties in trust for Indian landowners since the 1880's. Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell says a final resolution will affect individual Indian beneficiaries and tribal members, including between 6-and- 8,000 beneficiaries in Wyoming alone.
"Both tribes, the eastern Shoshone and the Arapaho, have been very supportive of this settlement and I am very appreciative of their willingness to assist and help for the benefit of all the beneficiaries in Wyoming"
The lawsuit was settled ten months ago, when plaintiffs and the government agreed on a $3.4-billion dollar settlement.
The agreement states that the government will set up a $60-million-dollar Indian scholarship fund and pay back $1.4 billion dollars to thousands of Indian plaintiffs. It will also create a $2-billion dollar fund to buy back land for tribes.
Some individual Indians will be paid one thousand dollars each for mismanagement of allotments. They will also be paid based on the number and types of leases on their land.