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For Immediate Release For more information Contact: Patrick Foley Director of Agency Services Blue Earth Marketing (402) 878-2407

8-30-2012

Indian Land Consolidation Act Liens Will Not Apply To Cobell Land Consolidation Fund In an August 10, 2012 Letter to Congressman Tom Cole, the Department of the Interior finally acknowledged that liens allowed by the Indian Land Consolidation Act (“ILCA”) would not apply to lands acquired by the $1.9 billion Cobell Land Consolidation Fund. Beginning with comments filed on March 29, 2012, the Ute Indian Tribe pressed Interior to make sure that ILCA liens would not apply. If Interior had tried to apply ILCA liens to the $1.9 billion Cobell Land Consolidation Fund, the Cobell settlement would have resulted in a windfall for the federal government. The Ute Indian Tribe is represented by the law firm of Fredericks Peebles & Morgan, LLP. The purpose of ILCA is to purchase fractionated interests in Indian lands that are a result of the allotment era. ILCA attempts to consolidate these interests and return the lands to tribal ownership. Under ILCA, Interior is allowed to place liens on lands that are acquired. Any revenues from those lands then goes to pay off the liens. Congress included the liens in ILCA so that ILCA would be self-funding. However, no one intended that the liens would be used to pay back the government for the lands acquired and consolidated by $1.9 billion Cobell Land Consolidation Fund, even though under Cobell lands will be consolidated using ILCA’s other procedures. Chairwoman Cuch stated, “Like other tribes, we were shocked to learn that BIA might place liens on the income generated by lands acquired with Cobell Land Consolidation dollars. This is something that was never discussed with us as a tribal government, or with individual plaintiffs in the Cobell case. We knew that money was being awarded to acquire fractionated interests, but at no time did we attend a meeting where the subject of liens was discussed.”

CALIFORNIA • COLORADO • MICHIGAN

• NEBRASKA • NORTH DAKOTA • SOUTH DAKOTA • WASHINGTON, DC


The Tribe appreciates Congressman Cole’s effort and the effort of other tribal leaders to press Interior on this issue along with the Tribe. As the Tribe stated in its comments to Interior, applying these liens would violate the spirit of the settlement and Congressional intent in passing the settlement. The Tribe commented, “These are settlement dollars which are coming to our people after a long and hard fought battle.” About the Ute Indian Tribe-The Ute Indian Tribe resides on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. Three bands of Utes comprise the Ute Indian Tribe: the Whiteriver Band, the Uncompahgre Band and the Uintah Band. The Tribe has a membership of more than three thousand individuals, with over half living on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. The Ute Indian Tribe operates its own tribal government and oversees approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land which contains significant oil and gas deposits. The Tribal Business Committee is the governing council of the Tribe. About Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP-Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP serves as general counsel to the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation of Northern Utah, and is dedicated to the representation of American Indian tribes and Native American organizations throughout the United States. Legal services include a wide spectrum of services related to Indian concerns in the areas of business transactions, litigation and governmental affairs.

CALIFORNIA • COLORADO • MICHIGAN

• NEBRASKA • NORTH DAKOTA • SOUTH DAKOTA • WASHINGTON, DC

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