Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 18, 2011

Tribal citizens may qualify for portion of trust settlement

UKB officials are helping locals sort through required application documents that could result in cash settlements of various amounts.

TAHLEQUAH — Most area residents have probably seen the recent TV commercials or newspaper advertisements about a $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement.

Documents detailing the Cobell vs. Salazar settlement are available online, but officials with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma say some tribal citizens may not understand some of the legal terms used to describe the matter, or may not realize they qualify.

On Dec. 21, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted preliminary approval to this settlement. Individual Native Americans across the country –  including members of most federally recognized tribes west of the Mississippi River – may be part of the settlement.

“What Elouise Cobell [the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit] was doing was trying to make the federal government accountable for them holding land in trust for these tribal members,” said Sammy Still, UKB tribal media director. “What the lawsuit was for was mismanagement of tribal trust funds and assets.”

The lawsuit claims the federal government violated its trust duties by not providing a proper historical accounting relating to Individual Indian Money accounts and other trust assets. The feds are also accused of violating trust responsibilities for management of land, oil, natural gas, mineral, timber, grazing and other resources.

Still and other members of the UKB, along with representatives of other area tribes, attended a meeting in Muskogee Wednesday, when representatives of Cobell explained portions of the settlement. The federal government denies the claims, and says it has no legal responsibility and owes nothing to class members, according to www.indiantrust.com.

Two classes may be eligible for money

Two groups in the settlement may be eligible for payment.

“They said $1.5 billion of the funds will go directly to the IIM, which is Individual Indian Money account. [The recipient] should have an open IIM account,” said Still. “This is payment from the government for the use of their lands that they’re holding in trust. Those individuals will receive, through this settlement, $1,000, across the board. This is for all account holders.”

Those qualifying for the first class of the settlement are referred to as Historical Accounting Class Members. They should have had an open IIM account anytime between Oct. 25, 1994 and Sept. 30, 2009, with the account having at least one cash transaction that wasn’t later reversed. This includes estates of account holders who died as of Sept. 30, 2009, if the IIM account was still open on that date.

The estate of an IIM account holder who had died as of Sept. 30, 2009, is included in the first class if the IIM account or its related probate account was open as of that date, while heirs of any class member who died after Sept. 30, 2009, but before distribution of any settlement funds, will receive that class member’s settlement payments through probate.

Still said some who don’t qualify for the first settlement payment may qualify for the second class, which is labeled as the Trust Administration Class. All who qualify for the first class will also receive the second payment.

According to a notice authorized by a federal court, qualifiers in the Trust Administration class could receive anywhere from $800 to $125,000, depending on the sum of his or her account’s 10 highest years of revenue. For instance, if the revenue over those 10 highest years ranged from zero to $5,000, he or she could receive $800-$1,250.

“If they don’t have an IIM open account, these people that just own land will not receive the $1,000. The people who just own the land will receive the second check, which they said will be at least $800,” said Still.

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • leatherman-chad.jpg Man gets 20 years for robbing local Walgreens store

    A Tahlequah man accused of robbing a local Walgreens this year has received a 20-year sentence.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-orphan-train.jpg ‘Orphan Train’ authors visit Tahlequah

    Imagine, for a moment, being a child whose parents could not care for him, and the only alternative was to ride the rails across the country, hoping to find a new family and home.
    For local resident Peggy Kaney’s grandfather, this scenario was a reality.
    Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster shared the stories of over 200,000 children taken from New York City and then given away to families in western states from 1854 to 1929, at the Tahlequah Public Library on July 17.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City council gives family deadline to rehab property

    Tahlequah’s city council is giving a family with local ties a little more than a month to develop and submit rehabilitation plans for two pieces of property containing six dilapidated structures in the 400 block of Lee Street.
    Members of the city’s abatement board recommended the homes be demolished, according to Tahlequah Building Inspector Mark Secratt. City officials then sent a certified notice as required by law, but the letter was returned.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man ‘howling like dog,’ arrested for APC

    When a Kentucky man pulled into an area convenience store over the weekend and began “barking and howling like a dog,” sheriff’s deputies checked on him and eventually hauled him to jail on alcohol-related charges, an arrest report shows.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Stocks