Ask Elouise week of December 2, 2010
December 2, 2010
Dear Indian Country
This is the sixteenth letter in a series of open letters that I’m sending to Indian Country. The purpose of this letter is to update you about the settlement.
As I stated in my last Ask Elouise letter of November 22, 2010, the Senate passed the Cobell Settlement as part of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. Since that time, I and our Representatives have been advocating for the successful passage of our settlement to members of the House and their staffs. While never free from doubt, the House passed the implementing legislation on two separate occasions this year, so we have been optimistic that passage could happen before the close of this Congress.
On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, the House took up consideration of the Claims Resolution Act, and subsequently passed the legislation. The bill now awaits the President’s signature to become law.
I am extending my personal appreciation to every Member (and his or her staff) of the United States House of Representatives who voted for our legislation. Special thanks go to: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA); Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD); Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (WV), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Dale Kildee (MI), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus Tom Cole (OK), Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (WI) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (MI).
It is my understanding that the President plans to sign the legislation into law sometime next week. Upon signing, enactment will be complete. Thereafter, we expect the judge to consider whether to grant preliminary approval of the settlement. If he preliminarily determines that the settlement is generally fair, you will be sent notice in the coming months about the terms of settlement. This notice will describe your rights and obligations under the settlement. You should take care to read all notices carefully. In the next Ask Elouise letter, I will describe this process in more detail.
Prior Ask Elouise letters can be found on the settlement website: http://cobellsettlement.com/class/ask_elouise.php. We also have a "frequently asked questions" section which includes the most common questions we've received as well as questions and answers from prior Ask Elouise letters: http://cobellsettlement.com/press/faq.php. With so many members of the class, I can't answer every question that you send.
The most common question I receive every week relates to whether a particular person is included in this settlement. Unfortunately, I do not have that information. The settlement agreement provides general guidelines (see also http://cobellsettlement.com/press/faq.php), but I also understand that many of you have unique or unusual circumstances, which make it unclear to me whether you are included in the settlement class. For those of you who still have questions, I recommend that you register to receive all Court-ordered communications to ensure you do not miss important information. There is no need to register if you are receiving a quarterly IIM statement. The Court ultimately will determine who is included in this settlement. Registration information can be found at the end of this and every Ask Elouise letter.
If you are not currently receiving an IIM statement from the government, please remember to register for correspondence over the Internet or by calling the number below.
If you have a question, send an e-mail to: email@example.com. Otherwise you can send me a letter to the address below. To expedite the processing of your letters our contractor has set up a post office box in Ohio, but I assure you this letter is coming from me and I will see your letters.
PO Box 9577
Dublin, OH 43017-4877
Thank you and keep your questions coming!