Cobell / Land Buy-back
The Cobell settlement was approved by Congress on November 30, 2010 (Claims Resolution Act of 2010) and signed by President Obama on December 8, 2010. The $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement includes a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund and $1.5 billion in direct payments to class members. The Cobell Settlement Agreement resulted in several notable outcomes:
- The Land Buy-Back Program For Tribal Nations: The Secretary of the Interior established the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) to implement the land consolidation provisions of the Cobell Settlement Agreement. The Settlement provided for a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund (Fund) to consolidate fractional land interests across Indian Country.
- National Commission on Indian Trust Reform: As part of President Obama’s commitment to fulfilling this nation’s trust responsibilities to Native Americans, the Secretary of the Interior named five prominent American Indians to a commission to undertake a forward-looking, comprehensive evaluation of Interior’s trust management of nearly $4 billion in Native American trust funds.
- Individual Settlement Payments: The Settlement provided for one-time payments to anyone who had an Individual Indian Money (IIM) account anytime from approximately 1985 through September 30, 2009, or had an individual interest in land held in trust or restricted status by the U.S. government as of September 30, 2009.
- Indian Education Scholarship Fund: The Settlement created the Indian Education Scholarship Fund to help “defray the cost of attendance at both post-secondary vocational schools and institutions of higher education.”