NEW TOWN - The chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes says a court ruling this week upholding the $3.4 billion Indian trust case settlement is a relief for elderly and other allottees.
"I believe this is a big relief for many allottees, especially our elderly," said Tex Hall.
Allottees are individual landowners.
"First, it was the lawsuit and then the settlement, and finally this decision from the Appeals Court means time is getting closer for a payout. Many of our elder beneficiaries wondered if the day for a payout would come in their lifetimes. We need to work to make sure this never happens to our people again," Hall said.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that a panel of appellate judges on Tuesday upheld the $3.4 billion settlement between the U.S. government and hundreds of thousands of Native American plaintiffs whose land trust royalties were mismanaged by the Interior Department.
According to the AP, the ruling means settlement checks could be mailed to members of the class-action lawsuit within weeks, said plaintiffs' attorney Dennis Gingold. Further appeals would delay that disbursement, and the attorney for the challenger, Kimberly Craven, of Boulder, Colo., said they are considering their options.
The three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge by Craven who had objected that the settlement did not include an actual accounting for how much money the government lost and said that the deal would overcompensate a select few beneficiaries.