It’s in the mail…soon. In 1996, Elouise Cobell sued the federal government on behalf of 500,000 Indians for mismanagement of trust or restricted land in the United States. This settlement amount totals $3.4 billion dollars and is broken in two parts: $1.5 billion to Historical Class and Trust Administration Class (Trust Class) members and $1.9 billion to buy back small inherited land interest. In Alaska, restricted land pertains to the ownership or inheritance of Native allotments or Restricted Native Townsites, the settlement does not apply to Native corporation land. Alaska is only eligible for the Historical and Trust Class payment, Alaska is not eligible for the “buyback” of your land ownership interest. Again, the government will not be buying back any land from us in Alaska. The payments are mailed in two parts: the first payment of $1,000 dollars was sent to eligible landowners the week of December 17, 2012. The first payments issued to land owners were to those in the Historic Class. The second group, the Trust Class, will receive checks within six months (most receive at least $500 or more). Because the overall Indian Trust Settlement is a bit complicated, I will break down the details so that everyday people like us can understand how we will be paid So basically, there are two classes of payments that Alaska is eligible for:
- Historical Class payments were mailed to Native allotment owners who had at least one cash transaction in their account- cash that may have been paid for a land sale, rent, a right of way, or permit.
- Trust Class payments applies to the rest of us, simply if you own, or inherited any Native allotment or Restricted Native Townsite, the owners will receive this payment at a later date, estimated to be within 6 months of the first payment.