Settlement Money For Tribal Members Finally In Sight

Apr 17, 2014

Long-awaited money from a settlement on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is finally on its way.

The federal government is paying the tribes $157 million for underpayment of royalties on oil and gas development and improper management of royalties that were paid. Northern Arapaho spokesman Mark Howell says some people don’t have bank accounts and there were concerns they would not be able to cash their checks.

“That the banks would not have the supply of cash on hand necessary to cash the checks. The Business Council worked with the various banks in the area to ensure that they had sufficient cash on hand,” Howell says.  

The settlement is split evenly between the tribes, but individual Eastern Shoshone tribal members will receive more money than Northern Arapaho members because there are less of them. Howell says the influx of money will be good for everyone.

“We expect those dollars will turn over several times and there will be, as economists like to say, a multiplier effect and it should boost both the tribal economy as well as the broader Fremont County economy,” he says.

Some of the money will also go to tribal government, and $10 million will be set aside to address environmental degradation caused by oil and gas development. Local law enforcement has promised to beef up their presence so that tribal members are not targeted for robberies.