Though it is flying low under the radar, the time to join the lawsuit against the Federal government in Cobell v. Salazar is reaching a close. The deadline to join in the settlement for monies to be paid to American Indians pursuant to this suit is April 20, 2011. Cobell is a breach of trust case and centers on the government’s management of lands alotted American Indians in the last century. Each claimant for proceeds from this settlement will receive a pro rata share based on the percentage ownership of those alottments that the claimant can prove. Joining in this settlement will require a release of future claims.
Alternatively, for those not interested in participating, separate suits for damages can be filed. However, time limitations may be problematic, and a determination of percentage ownership of alottments is complex and will require the use of paid experts.
This is a complicated area of law, and like all lawsuits and settlements, joining Cobell v. Salazar should not be taken lightly. To learn more, visit the Indian Trust Settlement website for additional details.