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June 23, 2010
NCAI Passes Resolution to Support Immediate Passage of the Cobell Settlement Legislation
NCAI Passes Resolution to Support Immediate Passage of the Cobell Settlement Legislation

Nation’s Oldest & Largest Tribal Membership Organization Votes to Support Cobell Settlement

For Immediate Release
June 23, 2010

Contact: Thom Wallace, Communications Director NCAI

Rapid City, SD– The National Congress of American Indians passed a resolution today strongly urging the United States Congress to pass the legislation authorizing the Cobell settlement. The resolution was passed during the organization’s resolution process on the final day of its Mid-Year Conference. Over one thousand people attended the three-day member meeting.

“This settlement is pending before the Senate in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, and we urge Congress to pass it immediately,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel. “It is important for our country and for our Nation’s Indian people that we resolve the mismanagement of Indian trust funds.”

The Cobell settlement resolves the long running class action litigation over mismanagement of Indian trust funds. It also includes payment for resource mismanagement and funds for consolidation of fractionated lands. The case has been pending since 1996.

“The vote of the membership on this resolution strongly supported the settlement legislation, and I am glad that tribal leaders came to a position,” added President Keel. “There was a vigorous debate on the resolution that we knew would happen because of the historic injustices and suffering. We all know that the settlement is inadequate, but we must also find a way to heal the wounds and bring some measure of restitution,” he went on to say.

The resolution also expresses the desire of tribal leaders that some changes be incorporated within the agreement and in implementation of the settlement, such as including tribes in the land consolidation program and separate legislation to fix the trust system. The resolution was clarified by amendment that the authorizing legislation should be passed immediately, and these issues are not intended to hold up Congressional passage.

Read the resolution, "RAP-10-037: Supporting the Cobell v. Salazar Settlement and Requesting Additional Considerations" here (.pdf)

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