American Indians in Minn. to receive part of $3.4B settlementby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — Thousands of American Indians in Minnesota will receive payments from $3.4 billion settlement of a lawsuit alleging the federal government mismanaged billions of dollars held in trust.
Keith Harper, with Washington D.C.-based Kilpatrick Townsend firm is one of the plaintiff attorneys. He said more than 300,000 American Indians nationally who had accounts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs will get a $1,000 payment.
Harper said the money is tax free and won't affect other payments tribal members receive.
"As you know, many in Indian country receive things like SSI or food stamps," Harper said. "Those are need based and they measure income and home many dollars you have in your account. These dollars cannot be considered for those purposes."
Harper said many of the plaintiffs in the class action case will get a second payment based on the amount of revenue generated by their land.
Those payments will range from a few hundred to several million dollars.
Some will get larger settlements based on the amount of royalties for gas or oil taken from their land. Most of the larger payments are in western states.