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Claims dating back more than 100 years settled with more than $1 billion payout

Claims dating back more than 100 years have been settled with a tribal trust settlement of more than a $1 billion payout to settle mismanagement claims from 41 tribes.

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the settlement of lawsuits filed by 41 federally-recognized tribes against the United States, in which the tribes alleged that the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury had mismanaged monetary assets and natural resources held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the tribes. 

The announcement followed a 22-month-long negotiation between the tribes and the United States that has culminated in settlements between the government and tribes totaling more than $1 billion.

Trust mismanagement claims dating back more than 100 years

These settlements resolve claims dating back more than 100 years and will bring to an end protracted litigation that has burdened both the plaintiffs and the United States.  Ending these long-running disputes about the United States’ management of trust funds and non-monetary trust resources will allow the United States and the tribes to move beyond the distrust exacerbated by years of litigation. 

These settlement agreements represent a significant milestone in the improvement of the United States’ relationship with Indian tribes.

“These settlements fairly and honorably resolve historical grievances over the accounting and management of tribal trust funds, trust lands, and other non-monetary trust resources that, for far too long, have been a source of conflict between Indian tribes and the United States,” said Attorney General Holder. 

“Our commitment to tribes is the cornerstone of the Department of Justice’s policies and initiatives in Indian Country, and these settlements will enable the tribal community to pursue the goals and objectives they deem to be appropriate while marking another step in our shared future built upon mutual respect and strong bonds of trust between tribal governments and the United States.”

Obama’s continuing commitment to empowerment and reconciliation for American Indians

“These important settlements reflect President Obama’s continuing commitment to ensuring empowerment and reconciliation for American Indians,” said Secretary Salazar. “It strengthens the government-to-government relationship with Tribal nations, helps restore a positive working relationship with Indian Country leaders and empowers American Indian communities.”

“I want to commend Attorney General Holder, our Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins and other key officials who were involved in the long negotiations leading to these historic agreements. I look forward to working with Tribal leaders to further strengthen our government-to-government relationship based on mutual respect and a shared concern for the proper management of tribal trust assets and funds.”

Department of the Interior manages nearly 56 million acres of trust lands and over 100,000 leases for federally-recognized tribes

The Department of the Interior manages almost 56 million acres of trust lands for federally-recognized tribes and more than 100,000 leases on those lands for various uses, including housing, timber harvesting, farming, grazing, oil and gas extraction, business leasing, rights-of-way and easements.  Interior also manages about 2,500 tribal trust accounts for more than 250 tribes.

Starting in the fall of 2009, lawyers for many of the tribes with litigation pending against the United States wrote to the president and asked the administration to engage in expedited settlement discussions with their clients.

In April 2010, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division Ignacia Moreno, Interior Department Solicitor Hilary Tompkins and Treasury Department General Counsel George Madison met with attorneys for the tribes, and the parties embarked on a settlement process that the tribes termed the “Settlement Proposal to Obama Administration,” or “SPOA,” which led in part to today’s announcement.

In addition to the SPOA process, the Departments of Justice, Interior and Treasury have been engaging in other settlement processes involving other litigating tribes. Those processes have been both positive and productive, resulting in the past settlement of other  tribal trust accounting and management cases and the processes will continue for other ongoing cases.

The United States is committed to resolving the trust accounting and trust management claims of the tribes in a manner that is fair, honorable, and reasonable to the tribes and the United States.

Under the negotiated settlement agreements, litigation will end regarding the Department of the Interior’s accounting and management of the tribes’ trust accounts, trust lands and other natural resources.  

Judgment Fund is used to pay settlements against the US Government

With monies from the congressionally-appropriated Judgment Fund, which is used to pay settlements or final judgments against the government, the United States will compensate the tribes for their breach of trust claims, and the tribes will waive, release and dismiss their claims with prejudice. 

The parties have agreed to information sharing procedures that will  strengthen the management of trust assets and improve communications between tribes and the Department of the Interior.  The settlement agreements also include dispute resolution provisions to reduce the likelihood of future litigation.

The sum total of the settlements with the 41 tribes is approximately $1.023 billion.

The 41 tribes are:

1. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation
2. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
3. Blackfeet Tribe
4. Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Indians
5. Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of Colusa Rancheria
6. Coeur d’Alene Tribe
7. Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
8. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
9. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
10. Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation
11. Hualapai Tribe
12. Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of Arizona
13. Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas
14. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
15. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians
16. Makah Tribe of the Makah Reservation
17. Mescalero Apache Nation
18. Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
19. Nez Perce Tribe
20. Nooksack Tribe
21. Northern Cheyenne Tribe
22. Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine
23. Pawnee Nation
24. Pueblo of Zia
25. Quechan Indian Tribe of the Fort Yuma Reservation
26. Rincon Luiseño Band of Indians
27. Round Valley Tribes
28. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
29. Santee Sioux Tribe
30. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation
31. Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
32. Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation
33. Spokane Tribe
34. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of the Fort Yates Reservation
35. Swinomish Tribal Indian Community
36. Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians
37. Tohono O’odham Nation
38. Tulalip Tribe
39.Tule River Tribe
40. Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
41. Ute Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation

Hey, it’s just a game!

hey it’s just a game

so i am rooting

for the home team

my team

i pledge

allegiance to

the flag of the united

states of sports

statistics and suburbia…

Poet, Larry Jaffe

hey it’s just a game

so i am rooting

for the home team

my team

i pledge

allegiance to

the flag of the united

states of sports

statistics and suburbia

i’m rooting for my team

my home team

the new york jews

or the ny kikes as

they are fondly known

but yesterday some

native hebrews

came running out

to protest the game

they claimed we

were stealing their

heritage and mocking

their name

just because

our mascot

runs around the

field in native hebrew garb

you know he has those

cute spit curls on the side

of his head

and he wears one of

those yarmulke things

a beany on his head

and one of their prayer shawls

it’s supposed to be

authentic so i don’t

really know what their problem

is after all it’s just a game

and we make sure

that when we are rooting

for the team that we

use all the proper

gestures in the stands

many of us have even practiced

like we copied our shoulder

shrugs from

vaudeville acts they

show on the big screen

and when the whole

crowd shouts OY

it is enough to raise

the hairs on the back

of your head

and when we chant

shalom when the

team is up to bat

well we just seem

undefeatable somehow

and well we

even know how

to do that little dance

jews are known to do

at weddings and such

we are very authentic

you know

and hava nagilla

is a great tune

we sing it and dance it

in the stadium

thousands of us doing

it together

especially when our rabbi mascot

goes into his prayer dance

out in the bleachers

he looks so real

he looks so jewish

you would never know he is not

i think they use makeup

to get that effect

or maybe he wears one

of those life masks

molded off a real rabbi

to get that effect

all i know is that he

really knows how

to get the crowd going

with his prayers and stuff

i heard next year

they may get another

guy out there with him

who can sing

they call him

a cantor or something

i think because of

eddie cantor

a dead jewish singer guy

i mean i don’t know what

these hebrews are

complaining about

i think we are honoring them

and paying tribute

to them when our little jews

are running the base paths

and we cheer them on

screaming la chaim

another quaint jewish

authentic saying

at the top of our lungs

personally i think it is

really picky of them

to object

i mean the mascot

and the team logo

look so authentic

we took careful

pains to not be

offensive and be

politically correct

you know

we did not make

the nose on the mascot

rabbi’s face too big

did not want to be


otherwise no one

would come out to

the game

© 1997 lgjaffe

Jaffe has been featured in poetry venues and festivals both throughout the U.S. and abroad. His web site, Poets4Peace has won numerous awards. Jaffe is the International Readings Coordinator for the United Nations Dialog Amongst Civilizations poetry project.

Light Warriors face vandalism charges at the Serpent Mound site

The Ohio Historical Society and Adams County Sheriff K.R. Rogers haven’t arrested anybody yet in what they consider a serious vandalism case. But the people who apparently did it made it easy by laying out their actions in an extensive YouTube video where they acknowledge they “did some work” in September at the Serpent Mound site in Adams County to help “lift the vibration of the Earth so we can all rise together.”

State officials aren’t seeing the light, however, and expect to file charges soon against three to five people who they say vandalized and desecrated the 1,000-year-old Serpent Mound site that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The perpetrators face second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

A group of “light warriors” buried what may be hundreds of small muffinlike resin objects, embedded with aluminum foil and quartz crystals, at Serpent Mound with the intent of realigning the energy of the ancient Native American site in Peebles.

So far, only three small buried items, known as “orgonites,” have been located. But there could be hundreds on the site, said GeorgeKane, director of historic sites and facilities for the Ohio Historical Society. “Adding things to the property is just not acceptable,” Kane said. “This is very serious.”

Kane said officials were tipped off to “suspicious activity” at the Serpent Mound site mid-September but learned more by watching aYouTube video, “Serpent Mound Reactivation 2012,” which has since been removed from the video site.

The video includes background on Serpent Mound, the largest prehistoric effigy mound on Earth. While its original purpose remains a mystery, Serpent Mound’s historical significance is compared to world sites such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge and theTaj Mahal.

The video, backed by New Age music, included comments from individuals wearing “Light Team” T-shirts and describing themselves as “light warriors,” who said they took several days planting orgonites at Serpent Mound to “reactivate it.”

Several people are shown running and leaping across the Serpent Mound earthworks. It was posted by a group calling itself Unite the Collective.

Orgonites are handmade objects crafted from metal filings, such as aluminum, and quartz crystals, cast in a resin base, often in a muffin tin. Items such as feathers are sometimes added. Several websites devoted to making and using the devices claim they draw in negative energy and exude positive energy.

Next week, Kane said a group of volunteers will go over the entire length of the serpentine earthworks to find the devices, most of which he said probably are buried just below the surface.

The 63-acre site, which is visited by more than 20,000 people annually, is being considered for inclusion as a World Heritage Site.

AUTHOR: Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch You can reach Mr. Johnson at

Origins of Native American Heritage Month (November)