by Drake


Protect Native Money

There is an urgent short term need to provide financial and consumer protection information to tribes and Native peoples.By mid-2013, $3 billion in individual and tribal trust fund settlements will come to Indian Country. The Keepseagle and Cobell class action legal settlements with the federal government have both been settled and will start lump sum payouts to individual recipients before the end of 2012. These more immediate payouts in Keepseagle and Cobell amount to more than $2 billion to individual recipients. In addition, more than 50 tribal trust settlements, totaling more than $1.0 billion, have been settled and payouts have either already been made or are due shortly, with another estimated 60 tribal settlements in the pipeline to be resolved.

NCAI, in partnership with tribes, regional and national organizations, federal agencies, and others, is launching a national campaign, Protect Native Money, to address the short and long term needs for financial education and consumer protection in Indian Country. An update with more information on the settlements and Protect Native Money is available here.

Keepseagle Settlement

The Keepseagle Settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination in the USDA Farm Loan Program was settled on December 27, 2011 for $780 million. Efforts have concluded in identifying those farmers and ranchers who qualify. Payments to the 4200 recipients in Track A were mailed August 23, 2012. Each will receive $50,000. Those 170 individuals in Track B received up to $250,000 with payments in September. AnAlert for Native Farmers and Ranchers has been developed through the campaign and was included in both mailings.  The settlement also includes payment of the taxes on settlement proceeds and payment/reduction of outstanding debt.

The top states with recipients are:  Oklahoma, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, North Carolina, New Mexico, and North Dakota.

For more information, go to

The Cobell Settlement

The $3.4 billion Cobell v Salazar is final and will soon go into implementation. The Obama Administration has vowed to distribute the initial payments by the end of 2012 now that all appeals have been exhausted. Payments of $1,000 will be made to an estimated 400,000 Native individuals possibly in December 2012. The remaining payments will go out within six months of the first payment. $1.5 billion of the $3.4 billion is slated for individuals in this initial payout.

A majority of the recipients are in the following states: Montana, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Minnesota. $1.9 billion will go to tribes for land consolidation programs to repurchase fractionated interests from individuals over the next ten years.

Cobell Educational Toolkit for Tribes

NCAI has prepared a toolkit for tribal leaders about the Cobell settlement that includes:

For more information, go to

April 2012 – Trust Claims Settlements

On April 11, 2012, the federal government settled trust claims with more than 50 additional tribes for $1.023 billion. These 50 + tribes will each decide how their claim will be used or distributed but it could be anticipated that some percentage of this $1.0 billion will go to American Indian individuals through per capita distributions.

Learn about the tax and benefit implications of the tribal trust settlements.

For more information on the settlements, read the White House announcement.


Resources & Links: 
Cobell Settlement 

Cobell Settlement Legislation – note language about taxation and benefits under Section 3, subpart f

Recent Articles on Cobell Settlement

Frequently asked questions about the Cobell Settlement

11.27. 2012 – Webinar Slides
Resources & Links: 
Tax and Benefit Information on Tribal Trust Settlements 

Determination of IRS on Taxation of Tribal Trust Settlements

Social Security Administration ruling on tribal trust account and management settlements

Drake | December 19, 2012 at 11:18 am