Over 30,000 Indian Trust Settlement Class Members Missing

Deadline to Submit Documentation: November 27, 2017

In late 2010, after nearly 15 years of litigation, the class action litigation initiated by key plaintiff Elouise Cobell v. Salazar against the Department of Interior (DOI) settled for $3.4 billion, and then-President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing the reimbursement of funds to eligible class members. The final deadline for submitting documentation so that payment can be made has been set by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (the “Court”) as Nov. 27, 2017. Unfortunately, thousands of people who are eligible to receive funds have yet to come forward, others have failed to keep their addresses current with the claims administrator and still others have passed away and their heirs have yet to present a death certificate and/or the necessary documentation to substantiate the right to inherit.

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in Cobell v. Salazar (2009), which challenged the U.S. for mismanagement of Indian trust funds.
Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in Cobell v. Salazar (2009), which challenged the U.S. for mismanagement of Indian trust funds.

The case began in 1996 when key class plaintiff Elouise Cobell and 500,000 American Indians filed a suit against the federal government, maintaining that the DOI failed to accurately account for deposits into and out of Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts, which were to be set up for Alaska Native and American Indian people, with total estimates for the discrepancies alleged to be as high as $100 billion at one point. The lawsuit aimed to force the federal government to conduct an accurate accounting of IIMs and to reform the recordkeeping system going forward.

The settlement provides for a $1.5 billion fund to compensate an estimated 500,000 affected individual trust beneficiaries who have or had IIM accounts or owned trust land, and creates two groups of class action members eligible to receive money from the fund – the historical accounting class and the trust administration class. The historical accounting class comprises individual Alaska Natives and American Indians who were alive on Sept. 30, 2009, who had an open IIM account anytime between Oct. 25, 1994 and Sept. 30, 2009, and whose account had at least one cash transaction. The trust administration class comprises individual Alaska Natives and American Indians alive on Sept. 30, 2009, who had an IIM Account at any time from 1985 through Sept. 30, 2009, recorded in currently available electronic data in federal government systems, as well as individual Alaska Natives and American Indians who, as of Sept. 30, 2009, had a recorded or demonstrable interest in land held in trust or restricted status. The estates of deceased class action members will also receive a settlement distribution if the deceased beneficiary’s account was open as of Sept. 30, 2009, or if their land interest was open in probate as of that date. (Other eligibility conditions and requirements for each class are detailed in the settlement agreement.)

On Dec. 21, 2010, the Court granted preliminary approval to begin the process of disbursing the settlement funds to eligible claimants, whereupon a court-appointed media company began a campaign to notify hundreds of thousands of Alaska Native and American Indian individuals that they may be beneficiaries of the settlement and a special website, www.indiantrust.com, was established to provide information about the settlement and the legal rights of class action members. Even so, thousands of eligible Alaska Native and American Indian people have yet to hear about the settlement. One reason for this is that, when the case was settled, the government records for many individual beneficiaries contained inaccuracies, including misspelled names and, in some cases, inaccurate tribal information for beneficiaries.

Are you a missing class member or claimant of the Cobell Settlement?
Garden City Group, the claims administrator for the Cobell Settlement, is seeking a number of missing class members and claimants and must receive documentation from these individuals no later than Nov. 27, 2017. Visit www.indiantrust.com for additional information and to search the Whereabouts Unknown list for your name or the names of your friends and relatives. All questions should be directed to the claims administrator by calling 1-800-961-6109; emailing info@indiantrust.com; or sending correspondence to Indian Trust Settlement, PO Box 9577, Dublin OH 43017-4877.

The Whereabouts Unknown list includes the estates listed below, for which the claims administrator has yet to receive appropriate documentation from the heir or heirs, including, in some cases, a death certificate. (If a death certificate is required, you may obtain one for an individual who died in the United States by writing to or visiting the vital statistics office in the state or area where he/she died.) For details on the documents needed in connection with estates, visit www.indiantrust.com or contact the claims administrator by calling 1-800-961-6109; emailing info@indiantrust.com; or sending correspondence to Indian Trust Settlement, PO Box 9577, Dublin OH 43017-4877.

Estates Shown on Cobell Settlement Whereabouts Unknown List                                                                                  

Aaron Adams Estate
Agnes Schnerer Estate
Alfred Lowell James Estate
Alfred Topkok Sr Estate
Alice C Noyakuk Estate
Alice Evan Estate
Annie Rickteroff Estate
Arthur Baktuit Estate
Bertha Marie Seversen Estate
Beryl (C Perry) Christine Franklin Estate
Betsy Chuitt Estate
Betty Mae (Agwiak) Kelleher Estate
Beverly O Kuckens Estate
Burt Shaginoff Estate
Carol C Jennings Estate
Carol Faye Dolan Estate
Caroline Emily (Langley) Grollnek Estate
Catherine E Atkinson Estate
Charlene M Key Estate
Charles Frederick Roehl Estate
Daisy A Schmidt Estate
Daniel Johnson Estate
Daniel Standifer Estate
David A Watson Estate
Davis Kiyutelluk Estate
Donn Brian Baker Estate
Doris Fisher Estate
Doris Marie Haskell Estate
Edwin William Roehl Estate
Elizabeth M James Estate
Elizabeth (Oskolkoff) Wilson Estate
Ella Eningowuk Estate
Ella Mae Ring Estate
Emil Dolchok Estate
Emma Sanguinetti Estate
Ernest M Chase Estate
Esther Paula Segura Estate
Eunice Englook Perrault Estate
Evelyn Mabel Larson Estate
Evelyn Sonja Merryman Estate
Flora Mae Lincoln Estate
Florie John Rudzavice III Estate
Floyd Lowell Suydam Jr Estate
Frederick Angick Sequak Estate
Gary Garman Moore Estate
George Aden Ahgupuk Estate
Glenna Seetomona Estate
Grace Ann (Kanan) Wallace Estate
Grassim Oskolkoff Estate
Inga Ann Caffrey Estate
Jack Tyone Estate
Jacob Albert Kenick Estate
Jake Ivanoff Estate
Jan R Reynolds Estate
John Onay Kobuk Estate
John Shaginoff Estate
John Steven Joseph Estate
Joseph Dexter Blatchford Estate
Judy B Tello Estate
Kenneth Lytle Wilson Estate
Larry Michael Oskolkoff Estate
Leona A Stallcup Estate
Louis Miller Estate
Lubov Donna Oskolkoff Estate
Madrona Jane D Lindgren Estate
Malcolm Mckinnon Estate
Margaret Elsie Baker Estate
Mary Brewer Estate
Meda Bella (Abouchuk) Sarren Estate
Melvin Peter Elvsaas Estate
Mike Robert Balashoff Estate
Nester Paul Chuitt Estate
Paul Earl Johns Jr Estate
Pearl Jessie Black Estate
Peter Nathan Merryman Estate
Polly Marina Goozmer Estate
Ralph Ahgupuk Estate
Randy Clyde Cronce Estate
Reginald Stepanoff Estate
Rhonda Luellen Komok Estate
Robert Lee Ahgupuk Estate
Robert Oran Jr Allen Estate
Ronald Panniniak Komok Estate
Rosalind Lind Estate
Sally Ann Benedix Estate
Sarah Frances Lindgren Estate
Serafima Newton Estate
Sievert Harold Jacobson Estate
Sophia (Sophie) R Chase Estate
Sten Veikko Rosenquist Estate
Stephen Michael Chernikoff Estate
Teresa S Wilson Estate
Veronica Ellana Estate
Walter Pederson Estate
Waska Awalin Sr Estate
Willie Noularak Johnson Sr Estate

Funds Deposited on Behalf of Missing IIM Account Holders Subject to Forfeiture

Is the DOI Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians looking for you?

Whether or not you are a missing claimant under the Cobell settlement, you might be an Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holder with interest in lands and/or funds held by the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST). OST is separately seeking current addresses for a number of IIM account holders whose whereabouts are current unknown, including some individuals who have had Cobell payment funds deposited to their accounts. In accordance with the provisions of the Cobell settlement, the funds held for these missing individuals are subject to being forfeited and transferred to the Cobell Scholarship Fund in November or December of 2017 if they fail to update their accounts.

To find out if OST is looking for you or any of your friends or relatives, visit www.doi.gov/ost/wau and scroll down to view the OST Whereabouts Unknown list.

If your name is on OST’s Whereabouts Unknown List, you may find out how to update your information by calling the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 or writing to the Office of Special Trustee, attn: Trust Beneficiary Call Center, 4400 Masthead Street NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. All questions about OST’s Whereabouts Unknown List and the process for updating an address with OST should be directed to OST.