Header

Time Is Running Out to Contact the Feds

Theodora Bird Bear
2/28/13

Right now, the feds are required to respond to any written comments submitted to them on the $1.9 billion Cobell settlement plan to buy your fractionated land and minerals. Tell the feds that you are keeping your land and minerals for your descendants.  You're not selling.

Due to the comment deadline ending next week, individual tribal land and mineral owners—and their family members—should  email or mail their comments NOW opposing  this plan to purchase lands and minerals through a one-time payment based on a "mass estimate” of the value of both your fractionated lands and minerals.  Under this expedited and rushed plan - due to an arbitrary 10-year deadline - no actual appraisal of your land and minerals will be done.

Your e-mailed or written comments objecting to this plan are needed by or before next Monday, March 4, 2013.

The original Cobell lawsuit was about individual Indian losses due to DOI/BIA systematic mismanagement over decades. This current plan to use $1.9 billion of the Cobell settlement to buy allottee fractionated land is only designed to benefit DOI recordkeeping and a limited number of tribal governments.  This plan relies on individual tribal members being willing - or led - to sell their land and minerals.

The BIA Director, Mike Black, has acknowledged that a tribal government can later condemn and aquire the rest of your land—and minerals—after it has been aided through this Cobell plan to acquire 51% or more of your fractionated interests.
 
Sadly, we already know there are significant lack of protections for individual tribal members within many reservation boundaries. Efforts to change the 1930's  IRA "tribal" constitutions to reflect the cultural values that previously supported and protected the rights of tribal members are overcome by inertia and the embedded self-interest of the tribal-federal system. It is paramount that individual Indian land and mineral owners be aware of the implications of this plan.
 
So, how should this land component of the Cobell settlement actually benefit you, the individual tribal member instead? The $1.9 billion of the Cobell settlement should be put into already-proven beneficial ways for INDIVIDUAL tribal members to consolidate their fractionated interests: through estate planning, will preparation, and individual efforts already being done now by tribal members to consolidate their own land AND minerals for both themselves and their future descendants.
 
Remind DOI that it has a trust responsibility to individual tribal members - not just to tribal governments. A Fortune 500 company can manage recordkeeping for thousands of stockholders - while in comparison, DOI has mismanaged it’s recordkeeping responsibilities to a relatively smaller population of individual Indian allottees. With the complicity of a few tribal governments, DOI is, again, attempting to dodge its’ trust responsibilities to all individual tribal members by compromising the original intent of the Cobell lawsuit and settlement.
Besides filing your comments to the feds, also call and tell your senator that you object to DOI’s attempt to evade its’ evade its’ trust responsibilities to you through this hijacked Cobell land sale plan. No individual Indian land and mineral owners were notified, nor invited,  to the three federal meetings with tribal governments about this plan. Tell your senator that the $1.9 billion of this settlement must benefit the original plaintiffs of the Cobell settlement - the individual Indian allottee land and mineral owner.
 
The notice about this Cobell land plan, including the federal requirement  to accept and respond to your comments, is in the online Federal Register Volume 77, Number 245 (Thursday, December 20, 2012)] [Notices] [Pages 75442-75443.]
 
You only have until next Monday, March 4, 2013 to email your comments to: buybackprogram@ios.doi.gov or either send a written letter by mail, post-marked, to U.S. Department of the Interior, MS-7323-MIB, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.
 
According to this online Federal Register notice, you can also email or call Anthony.Walters@bia.gov; (202) 513-0897 for more information.
 
Theodora Bird Bear is an enrolled tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, a long-term Mandaree resident, and a postal patron of the Mandaree post office.
 

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page

11

POST A COMMENT

Comments

Anonymous's picture
We won the Cobell lawsuit to the tune of $4.3 billion. Part of the money is paid to the plaintiffs but $1.9 was held back by the Feds. Is that not my money they are using to buy my land with?
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Timely and appreciated information here. A good read even if your not an affected member of this settlement. Andre Leonard,
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
It does not seem to matter what individual Natives want ...the gov't will and has done whatever it wants...we only have broken treaties and promises and it will always be so..My history tells me so...thank you for trying...they only take and take from us. The gov't only pretends it wants feedback from us...They have never been fair and the gov't will not ever be fair they have the land...that is all they wanted...if they could have exterminated our whole race..That would have been done and not from lack of trying. I have absolutely no faith that anything will change..no matter what the law says, the gov't will find a way around it.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
need name and phone number of the Senator ! Please post !
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
After reading this, I'm even more disappointed with the whole Cobell settlement. Out of three siblings, one brother received a $1000 check from the first class and I and another brother did not. I've called this Garden City Group (what a crock!) with questions about that and no one can tell me anything. One woman said that all members of a family won't be receiving money and that the powers-that-be look at each situation case-by-case. What??! And now I read this. I thought it was up to individual landholders to sell or not. My brothers and I inherited our dads' landholdings and yes, there are several other co-owners on these acreages. We don't want to give up our ties to my dads' tribe and the little checks we get throughout the year really help. Today was the deadline to file a claim for this next administration class and guess what?, I. DON'T. CARE.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
What short notice! That tactic is being used again and again.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Do not take land from Native American Indians , buying what is not for sale is steeling . Taking by force seems ok if you say you paid for it and did what was best over all for all evolved . It is EXTORTION no different than what was done by those imprisoned for doing it . U.S. government BACK OFF and leave us alone . J.E.R.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
All my land and mineral rights are at standing rock in the bakken formation will not be sold until pick sloan,cobell,salazar.oil, gas and dinosaur bones issues are addressed and are paid for. Going rates with all that is owed to my land and what it contains underneath will not sell for their $1000 checks (scraps) everyone else gets most of our award money. They get millions and the land owners get wine scraps.Until this happens the cows can stay and graze and the rest of them can get the hell off my land above and below.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
typical i found this too late to comment on it , what a bogus rip off
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
all the money used to pay off this entire scam is the indian people's own stolen moneys. how toucheish right? nothing like covering your asses of holocaust level crimes over centuries in this way.
Anonymous

Pages