Information about the Indian Trust Settlement

WHERE’S MY CHECK?!?
That’s the same question I have been asking about the Indian Trust Settlement. As an heir to a Native Allotment, I inherited land from my grandmother, sharing the land with many other relatives. So I did some research to track down this money and found the following information on the Indian Trust Settlement website:

“The Settlement is currently in an appeal period. One appeal was filed on August 6, 2011 and a second appeal was filed on September 1, 2011. We do not yet know how the Court will respond to these appeals, but we will update this website and provide additional information as it becomes available. Payments will be distributed once all appeals have been resolved by the Court.”

If there was no appeal, checks would have been mailed by now to several thousand landowners in the Tanana Chiefs Region, and many more thousands in greater Alaska; there are a total of 500,000 Indian class members nationwide. I was more than ”irked” about the appeal and asked how could a handful of people hold up a $1.412 billion accounting and trust administration fund?

The answer, I found, lies in the court system and the appellants. The judge will honor the appeal and see it through, but how long will this take?   I found newspaper articles and heard estimates, the judge would hear the appeal January 2012, or in the spring of 2012 and after the appeal is heard, then checks will be mailed. Do I have an exact date? No. However, the main appellant, Kim Craven, and the Federal Court have indicated expedited hearings to avoid delay.  If you are interested in learning more details about the how and why of the appeal, please see www.IndianTrust.com or Google: Kimberly Craven and class action fairness.

Tanana Chiefs Realty employees traveled to most of the villages in the summer of 2011 to help Native allotment and Restricted Townsite owners file claims to the settlement.  We had the same questions that many of our clients were asking, so I present questions and answers format below to help us understand the settlement:

HOW DO I FILE A CLAIM?  The official due date to file a claim was September 16, 2011, but it’s not too late according to the Indian Trust website.  Here is their answer:
“It is important to know that although the claim filing deadline has passed, identified Class Members were not required to file a claim form. Therefore, we are continuing to accept information from eligible Class Members so that we may connect them to Class Member records in our system and ensure that we have the most current contact information for every Class Member. If you think that you may be eligible, please provide us with the following information so that we may confirm whether you are eligible and that any payment to which you may be entitled is sent to the proper address.

  •  Name, including former names
  •  Address, including former addresses
  •  Social security number
  •  Date of birth 
  •  IIM account number
  •  Tribe number

WHO DO I CONTACT TO FILE A CLAIM?
If you own or if you inherited a Native Allotment, you may call 1-800-961-6109 or website at www.IndianTrust.com (claim forms can also be downloaded from the website).  You may also call or visit the Tanana Chiefs Realty office and ask for Linda Evans at 1-800-478-6822 extension 3242, or any other of the six employees in Real Estate Services that can be of assistance.  If you are out of State, please call 1-800-770-8251 for Realty.

WHEN?  If you are eligible, file a claim as soon as possible. 

WHERE? Tanana Chiefs Realty is located at 122 First Avenue, Third Floor, Chief Peter John building, Fairbanks, Alaska.  If you need a Claim Form faxed or mailed, please contact us.  Our fax number is 907-459-3852, e-mail: linda.evans@tananachiefs.org or paul.mayo@tananachiefs.org

WHY? Filing a Claim takes just a few minutes, and as I see it, you have nothing to lose.  You may be entitled anywhere from several hundred dollars to around $1,500 (for most Alaska claimants).

Paul Mayo, Natural Resource and Realty Director, Tanana Chiefs Conference

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