WASHINGTON, D.C. – Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has finalized settlement of litigation between the Department of the Interior and plaintiffs in Peltier v. Haaland. The litigation was filed in 1992 by individual and tribal beneficiaries of the Pembina Judgment Fund, alleging mismanagement and failure to account.
The total amount of the settlement for the tribes and the individuals is $59 million. The Class Action Settlement Agreement (CASA) settles the claims of 39,003 individual beneficiaries against the United States for mismanagement of the Pembina Judgment Fund, a trust fund containing additional compensation for certain lands that the Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians ceded to the United States. Final approval of the CASA activates the settlement reached in the Court of Federal Claims with the four beneficiary tribes: the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, and the White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians.
The settlement builds upon the work initiated under the Obama-Biden administration, which settled the vast majority of the outstanding claims, some dating back more than a century, with more than 100 tribes and totaling over $3.7 billion.
“The Department of the Interior is wholly committed to strengthening our government-to-government relationship with tribes, including reconciling long-standing disputes regarding proper management of tribal trust assets,” an Interior spokesperson commented. “The Department will continue to diligently execute its trust responsibility to federally recognized tribes and enact policies that promote tribal sovereignty, self-determination and economic self-sufficiency.”