Cobell Settlement Checks to be Distributed Next Week

The late Elouise Cobell met President Obama in Oval Office of the White House

The late Elouise Cobell met President Obama in Oval Office of the White House

WASHINGTON — Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Thursday, September 11, approved a motion to begin distribution of payments awarded to individual American Indians under the Cobell Settlement. This was the final legal step before beginning settlement payments to tribal members.

Cobell v. Salazar was settled in 2009 after 13 years of litigation but individual Indians have had to wait years to receive their payments due to various appeals and delays.  The original lawsuit, brought by Blackfeet Tribal member Elouise Cobell, accused the federal government of mismanaging Indian trust accounts for decades.

Garden City Group is responsible to distribute checks to those who qualify for payment. The following message was posted to the Garden City Group website after yesterday’s ruling:

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered an Order approving Plaintiffs’ Unopposed Motion to begin distribution. This Motion obtained the final approval necessary to commence payment distribution to Trust Administration Class Members and summarizes the methodology for those payments.

GCG is prepared to commence sending checks to Trust Administration Class Members where we have a current address beginning next week. We anticipate the first checks will mail Monday, September 15, 2014. (Please note that checks may take 5-7 days to reach Class Members once they have been mailed.)

US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester issued the following statement:

“This is welcome news for Indian country. I am very pleased that payments will finally be made to tribal citizens who have waited decades for justice. The delay for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans was unacceptable, but folks will finally receive the restitution promised them.”

Questions about your eligibility to receive payment can be made by calling: 1-800-961-6109.

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