Tribes getting $3M from new settlement in coming weeks

Oct 12, 2016 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

The administrator of a class-action lawsuit against the federal government has informed the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes that they'll receive at least $3 million in the next two months.

The case was settled in September. The two tribes join 695 parties nationwide in receiving a total of $940 million as a result of the suit, which went to the Supreme Court in 2012.

Claims arose over whether Congress had failed to appropriate funding that the federal government had been required to pay to the tribes for self-determination contracts.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe is set to receive $2.1 million, and its scholarship fund, Sky People, is set to receive $1.6 million.

"The money that will be reimbursed to our Sky People scholarship program will be used to provide additional funding for our young people seeking college and graduate degrees," Arapaho councilman Ronald Oldman said in a press release. "Hopefully those individuals will return to the reservation and use their education and experience to help and serve our people in the future."

Because these released funds are intended to reimburse the tribe for added administrative costs over the years, the Northern Arapaho Business Council does not intend to distribute per capita payments.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is set to receive $739,000, but the class administrator has agreed not to release the $718,000 owed to the Joint Finance Office the tribes share until another Arapaho lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs is settled.

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