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Government still not doing its duty for Sand Creek Massacre descendants

Aug 7, 2013 - Homer Flute, Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust Apache

Editor:

The Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust formally requested from the U.S. Department of the Interior that an accounting be conducted of monies and property owed to certain descendants of the Nov. 29,1864, Sand Creek Massacre, in which members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes were killed by U.S. troops. There are descendants on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The monies and property are owed pursuant to the Treaty of Little Arkansas, duly executed on Oct. 14,1865 and ratified by the United Stales Senate on May 22,1866. Because neither monies nor property have ever been paid under the Treaty, an accounting is proper under the Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994,28 U.S.C. 1343, of the Administrative Procedures Act.

The United States has "substantial trust responsibilities to Native Americans. Such duties are grounded in the very nature of the government-Indian relationship." Cobell v. Norton, 240 F.3d 1081,1086 (D.C. Cir.2001).

With the passage of the 1994 Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act, 25 U.S.C. 4001, et seq., the Secretary of the Interior's duty is now clear, the secretary owes to trust beneficiaries an accounting of all funds held on behalf of Indian tribes and individual Indians.

Rather than establish a new mandate, the 1994 Act merely affirmed the United States' "pre-existing fiduciary duty to perform a complete historical accounting of trust fund assets." Cobell, 240 F.3datll02.

On May 3, 2012, The Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust presented testimony regarding the massacre and the United States' subsequent treatment of the descendants to whom these responsibilities are owed, to a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations concerning Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights.

On Aug. 15, 2012, the Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust respectfully requested that the Department of the Interior fulfill its trust responsibilities to the descendants by conducting a full and complete historical audit and accounting of all monies and property owed by the United States under the Treaty of Little Arkansas.

To date the Department of the Interior has failed to fulfill its trust responsibilities to the descendants. The Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust is preparing a complaint to be filled in the United States Federal Court.

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