Native Americans to receive payments in Cobell v. Salazar settlement

300px-Cumulus_Clouds_over_Yellow_Prairie2Native Americans recently began receiving the first payments related to the Cobell v. Salazar settlement, in which the federal government was accused of mismanaging individual Indian lands held in trust.

In 1996, Elouise Cobell, the treasurer of Montana’s Blackfoot Tribe, filed suit against the federal government after she discovered the government had mismanaged Indian lands held in trust. After a settlement was reached in 2009, a two-year appeals process held up payment disbursements, and Cobell died during that time, Boise State Public Radio reports.

Approximately 50,000 American Indians in Washington, 5,800 American Indians in Idaho and about 9,000 Oregon natives are set to receive payouts. Disbursements of $1,000 are the first part of the suit and represent the government’s acknowledgement that it violated the land trust established in 1887. As a second part of the settlement, more checks will likely paid out this summer.

The CFPB issued a notice to firms that “are planning on doing business with Cobell recipients” to “conscientiously comply with all consumer protection laws,” according to Boise State Public Radio.

“The enforcement team will continue to be on the watch for scams and other harmful financial products that target Native Americans,” the CFPB said. “Consumers and tribal leaders shouldn’t hesitate to let us know if they are seeing financial practices that are deceptive, unfair, abusive or discriminatory.”

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