January 27, 2017
Important Update: Final Deadline to Submit Documents Set for Payment in the Cobell
Settlement and Court Approval of Initial Scholarship Payment:
The US District Court for the District of Columbia (the “Court”) has set November 27, 2017 as the final deadline for any Class Member or the heir of a Class Member to provide documentation so that payment can be made. The Court approved one exception in its Order, Class Member estates pending probate proceedings at the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Hearing and Appeals (“OHA”) as of November 27, 2017, will have their payments held until the OHA proceedings are finalized. Those payments will then be distributed to the heirs. All other documentation must be received by the Claims Administrator or postmarked by November 27, 2017.
Additionally, in its Order the Court approved an initial transfer of $21,773,438.50 to the Indian Education Scholarship Fund. For more information about the Cobell Scholarship, please visit www.cobellscholar.org. The complete order may be read here.
Should you have any questions about the types of documentation acceptable for payment or if you are a Class Member or heir to a Class Member and you have not received your check, please do not hesitate to call (800) 961-6109.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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.)
Upcoming Events in Cobell v. Salazar
A 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
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
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
- 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.
Update Your Contact Information
|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.|