Reps. Peterson and Cravaack address MN Chippewa Tribe Judgement Fund Distribution Act

Mar 2, 2012


(WASHINGTON, DC) --  Representatives Collin Peterson and Chip Cravaack testified Thursday before the Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, on H.R. 1272, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act. 

"My position has always been that Congress should not take an active role in these types of issues.  I believe that all of the Bands should come to an agreement on how to distribute this award and only then should Congress get involved," Peterson said.  "Unfortunately, after thirteen years the Bands are still unable to agree.  Although a unanimous resolution has not yet been achieved, I think H.R 1272 is the best and most realistic compromise to release this long overdue settlement to people that really need it, the members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. "

Peterson added, "I want to thank Mr. Cravaack for his willingness to get together and talk about this issue so we could finally come to a resolution supporting the agreement made on behalf of the majority of these tribes."

“I represent five of the six bands that constitute the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.  Their representatives have all made it very clear to me that it is more than past-time to bring resolution to this long-standing issue.  I agree,” said Rep. Cravaack.

“Furthermore, Representative Petersen and I agree that H.R. 1272 is the solution that must be enacted in order to fulfill the U.S. government’s legal obligations, conclude its litigation with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and release the over $28 million in settlement funds in an expeditious manner.  I am hopeful that the House will quickly move to vote on this important bill and bring resolution to this long-standing issue."

Thirteen years ago, the United States Court of Federal Claims awarded and appropriated $20 million to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.  This settlement appropriation was to compensate the descendants of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota for the improper valuation of timber and the taking of land under the Nelson Act of 1889.  Now, because of the Indian Judgment Fund Act of 1983, Congress must pass legislation detailing how the settlement should be distributed among the six Bands that make up the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.