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Date: February 2, 2012 Contact: Adam Fetcher, DOI (202) 208-6416 Nedra Darling, AS-IA (202) 219-4152 Interior Seeks Comments on Cobell Land Consolidation Draft Plan First Meeting of Trust Reform Commission set for March, 2012 WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of the Interior today communities and aid in land consolidation. Up to $60 million of announced two important steps in the ongoing commitment to the $1.9 billion will be set aside to provide scholarships for post fulflling this nation’s trust responsibilities to Native Americans. secondary higher education and vocational training for American Today, Interior announced the publication of a draft plan and a Indians and Alaska Natives. request for comment on implementing the potential Cobell Land Consolidation Program. Additionally, Interior announced that Today’s publication in the Federal Register opens a 45-day the frst meeting of the Commission established to undertake a comment period on the draft implementation plan that seeks forward-looking, comprehensive evaluation of Interior’s trust to remedy the proliferation of thousands of new trust accounts management of Native American trust funds is set for the frst caused by the increasing subdivision or “fractionation” of trust week of March. and restricted fee land interests through succeeding generations. The draft implementation plan proposes a voluntary buy-back and “Interior’s continued rapport and outreach through consultations consolidation of fractionated trust and restricted fee land interests with Indian Country are crucial components to accomplishing that would occur over a 10-year period after the Cobell Settlement truly open government-to-government communication,” said becomes fnal. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes. “We are thankful for the participation of all of the tribal leaders as we continue Deputy Secretary Hayes also announced that the frst meeting to move forward with this landmark program in a manner that of the National Commission on Indian Trust Administration incorporates tribal priorities and promotes tribal participation in and Reform is scheduled for March 1-2, 2012 in at the Interior reducing land fractionation in a timely and effcient way.” Department in Washington, D.C. The March meeting will mark the frst time the fve recently-names members of the Commission The Cobell Land Consolidation Program will not be implemented will meet to move forward on their comprehensive evaluation of until all court approvals are fnal; however, Interior has Interior’s management and administration of the trust assets, as prepared the draft plan to continue the tribal consultation on the well as recommendations for improvement. development of the program. In May, 2011, the District Court allowed representatives of the United States to communicate with “Building upon the progress made with the historic Cobell Cobell class regarding to the land consolidation component of Settlement, this commission will help usher in a new era of trust the settlement. Since then, Interior has conducted seven regional administration,” added Hayes. “Our trust administration must be government-to-government tribal consultations on the issues. more transparent, responsive, customer-friendly and accountable in managing these substantial funds and assets.” In accordance with the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement, a $1.9 billion land consolidation fund is to be used to purchase More information on the Cobell Trust Land Consolidation fractionated interests in trust from willing sellers to beneft tribal Program can be found at: www.doi.gov/cobell. chehalistribe.org  greatwolfodge.com  luckyeagle.com  eagleslandinghotel.net Page 3
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