Alaska Natives have recently begun receiving checks from the Cobell Indian Trust Settlement. The checks are part of a nearly $950 million payout to plaintiffs in the Cobell Lawsuit, which was filed in the 1990s against the federal government for the mismanagement of individual Indian trust accounts.
The accounts primarily contained money collected by the federal government from farming and grazing leases, timber sales, mining, oil and gas production, and other activities on Indian Trust Land.
The Cobell Settlement is the largest class action settlement against the federal government.
Filed in 1996 by the late Elouise Cobell and other Native American leaders, it sought an accounting of the individual Indian trust accounts and reform of the trust system, which had been mismanaged for over a century.
Once the case settled, counsel for the Plaintiffs were tasked with distributing funds to 500,000 individual Native beneficiaries across the country, including Alaska.
The first checks for the ‘trust administration class’ of the settlement were mailed out September 15th. Checks for the ‘historical accounting class’ portion of the settlement was issued over a year ago.
But not everyone due a check has received one. It turns out the federal government doesn’t know where more than 30,000 class members of the lawsuit are.
If you think you may be a class member but have not received payment, you can visit Indian Trust online, or give them a call at 1-800-961-6109.
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