President Obama signs Cobell Settlement

<i>Official White House Photo by Pete Souza</i><br>
President Barack Obama meets with Elouise Cobell in the Oval Office, Dec. 8.

<i>Official White House Photo by Pete Souza</i><br> President Barack Obama meets with Elouise Cobell in the Oval Office, Dec. 8.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Obama on Wednesday signed into law the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which included the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement and major tribal water settlements that have been at the forefront of Indian Country's legislative agenda.

"The President and the Congress have continued to exhibit a renewed determination to honor the federal trust responsibility to tribal nations and Indian people," said Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). "Today's ceremony is another concrete example of this administration's commitment ... to honor our historic, nation-to-nation relationship. Tribal leaders look forward to meeting with the President and his administration ... at the White House Tribal Nations Conference and continue building our vision for strengthening Indian Country."

The signing of the Cobell Settlement, which resolves a long running class action litigation over mismanagement of Indian trust funds, comes one week prior to the President's Tribal Nations Conference, the second of his Administration. Leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribal nations have been invited to Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16.

The Cobell Settlement also includes payment for resource mismanagement and funds for consolidation of fractionated lands. The case has been pending since 1996. In the last month, the Cobell Settlement moved forward rapidly in the Senate as budget neutral legislation, after lingering for the last year in both houses. Unresolved for 14 years, the settlement was part of a number of historic measures included in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010.

In addition to the Cobell Settlement, historic water settlements vital to Indian Country, totaling over $1 billion, were passed as part of H.R. 4387. The water settlements involved the Crow Tribe, Taos Pueblo, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and the Aamodt Settlement including the New Mexico Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque.

About The National Congress of American Indians

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

For more information visit www.ncai.org.

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