Pembina Settlement Agreement Preliminarily Approved

WASHINGTON (NMB) – Members of the Chippewa Cree and Little Shell Tribes may be eligible to receive monetary claims after a preliminary settlement was reached in a long running court battle.

The preliminary settlement in the case calls for the U.S. Government to pay the now-dispersed Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians a total of $59 million. That amount is set to be split to several entities and individuals, including eligible members of the Chippewa Cree and Little Shell Tribes. Projected payouts for some individuals are estimated at over $1,000.

Melody McCoy, lead attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, says those that are eligible should expect to receive a notice providing further information.

No action is needed to stay in the settlement, but an opt-out date is April 29th. McCoy says doesn’t expect many opt-outs.

“It would have to be in principal…Everyone is getting paid equally, everything is equal across the Board for those who shared in these original payouts. It’s just more money for everyone who already got money. But some people in principal may say ‘I don’t want this.’ These days, people have all kinds of reasons for not doing things. Far be it for me to speak for that. But I can’t think of any other reason. If you don’t want your money, it goes into the pot, and it increases the payout to everyone who stays in.”

A fairness hearing to finalize the settlement is set for June 10th.

“We put so much work into this and worked so hard. We don’t like to be presumptuous, but we think that we will get final approval, and the court will not make any major changes to the settlement agreement, but we won’t know that for sure until the Court sees how the notice program has gone. At this date, we have had no opt-outs and no objections.”

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