FRAUD ALERT: Individuals Asking for Payment in Exchange for Assistance with the Cobell Settlement

Individuals have represented that they will “process” applications for Cobell funds in exchange for a percentage of funds received. Please be advised that these individuals are not acting on behalf of the Cobell Settlement. No one associated with the Cobell Settlement will ever request payment or bank account information for any services or information provided. More details


Important Update: Elouise Cobell Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

The late Elouise Cobell will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously at the White House by President Obama. The Presidential Medal of Freedom award is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security of national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. From her humble origins growing up on the Blackfeet Nation reservation without electricity or running water, Elouise “Yellow Bird Woman” Cobell went on to become a warrior for all Native Americans as the lead plaintiff in the 15 year legal battle known as Cobell v. Jewell that resulted in the $3.4 billion Indian Trust Settlement. This prestigious honor is a fitting addition to her legacy, and we are proud to have served as the legal administrator in this historic case.

In keeping with her status as a warrior and protector of Indian Country, Ms. Cobell insisted that the Settlement look both to the past as a vehicle for correcting the mistakes of history and also to the future with the establishment of a Scholarship Fund in her name. Information on the Scholarship Fund can be found at http://cobellscholar.org/.

Important Update on the Cobell Scholarship Fund
(As of May 10, 2016):

The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) has announced that the Cobell Scholarship will now be administered through the Cobell Scholarship Fund for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. For questions concerning the Cobell Scholarship, and to apply for funding for Summer 2016 and Academic Year 2016-2017, please contact scholarships@cobellscholar.org for more information or visit their website at www.cobellscholar.org.

Important Update on Claimant Appeals
(As of March 10, 2015):

Please note, the deadline to submit documents and request reconsideration to the Special Master from a determination of ineligibility as a Class Member has now passed. All documentation to establish eligibility and request reconsideration needed to be postmarked by March 9, 2015, both for a personal claim and for an estate that has not previously been determined eligible.

While the Special Master will no longer accept or review any appeals related to determinations of ineligibility by the Garden City Group, LLC (“GCG”), matters related to the sufficiency of estate documentation and determination of heirs, in addition to appeals resulting from determinations not made by GCG, will continue to be reviewed by the Special Master on an ongoing basis.

The Special Master has reviewed and determined most appeals for consideration in the Indian Trust Settlement. To this end, he has filed a report with the US District Court for the District of Columbia (the “Court”) which has responded with an Order outlining the required process if there are Objections to the Special Master’s Decisions. In addition, the Court also provided the following Orders Scheduling the Filing Deadlines for Objections to the Special Master’s Decisions (Scheduling Order 1, Scheduling Order 2 and Scheduling Order 3).

Determinations from the Special Master regarding specific claims are currently being mailed to Claimants. Please note that this process will be ongoing until all determinations are complete. If you have not yet received a Determination you should anticipate receiving it in the next three weeks. If you wish to object to a specific determination made by the Special Master please be certain to fully comply with all requirements identified in these Orders. A copy of these requirements will also be included with each Determination from the Special Master.


Information Regarding Trust Class Payments

Important Update (as of September 15, 2014)

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.

On Monday, September 15, 2014, GCG commenced sending checks to Trust Administration Class Members where we have a current address. (Please note that checks may take 5-7 days to reach Class Members once they have been mailed.)

Informational Meetings

Representatives of GCG, the Claims Administrator for the Settlement, will hold a meeting in Tacoma, WA on September 23, 2014 (Click here to view details about the meetings).

Upcoming Events in Cobell v. Salazar

As we get closer to the disbursement of the Trust Administration Class payments, we wanted to provide you an update on matters that have already occurred during the month of May and will occur over the following few weeks. (click here to read the update)

A Letter from Class Counsel

Please be assured that the Court, the Claims Administrator and Class Counsel are taking all measures necessary to make sure that Trust Administration payments are distributed as quickly as possible consistent with the terms of the settlement. (click here to read a recent letter from Class Counsel)

Interior Announces First Transfer from Land Buy-Back Program to Cobell Education Fund

Initial transfer of nearly $580,000 will fund scholarship opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students


Read the Press Release


For information about the Cobell Scholarship Program, how to apply for a scholarship, or to provide comment about disbursement polices for the Cobell Board of Trustees, go to www.collegefund.org/Cobell.

Fraud Alert: Individuals Asking for Bank Account Information

Individuals have represented themselves as part of the Cobell Settlement and contacted one or more class members to obtain bank account information. Please be advised that these individuals are not acting on behalf of the Cobell Settlement. No one associated with the Cobell Settlement will ever request your bank account information.

If you receive a call requesting such information or you are concerned about a call you receive, please write down the phone number and contact the Garden City Group at 1-800-961-6109 or David Smith and Bill Dorris, Class Counsel, at 1-866-383-6554.

Heirs to Estates: Documents Needed

If you establish a decedent is a class member you need to provide documentation which directs distribution of the funds. The Court has ordered that the following documents are acceptable:
  • A state or tribal probate order identifying the heirs to the estate;
  • Documentation showing the appointment of an Executor, Administrator, or Personal Representative of the Estate;
  • A last will and testament that has been approved through a probate order;
  • A valid small estate document from an approved state;
  • A federal probate order that directs distribution of trust funds or trust lands.
For more information click here

Update Your Contact Information

If your address has changed or if it changes in the future, it is important you update your information with the Claims Administrator. If you wish to update your mailing address or your email address on record with the Claims Administrator, please choose one of the options below:

Scholarship Fund Information Affidavit of Small Estate Land Buy Back Program
The settlement authorizes over $60 million dollars in scholarships for Indian students. Get the Facts and learn how you may benefit. To allow for expedited payments to estate heirs the Special Master has approved small estate affidavits. The rules differ from state to state. Find out more here. Part of the Settlement will be used for purchase of fractionated land interests. For more information on the Department of the Interior's Land Buy Back, click here.