The U.S. House of Representatives today passed The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act (H.R. 1272). The legislation was introduced by Minnesota Representatives Collin Peterson and Chip Cravaack.
"It is high time that this settlement is finally distributed and put to work within these communities. The sooner we resolve this issue the sooner these funds can be released. There is a great need on these Reservations for things like schools, health care facilities and infrastructure improvements," Peterson said. "In a perfect world I would have liked to see all six Bands be in unanimous agreement on how these funds should be distributed, but we cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. It is time for everyone to come together and find an agreement that maybe not everyone will love, but everyone can benefit from."
"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 Cravaack. "Furthermore, Representative Peterson 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 pleased that the House has acted this evening by voting on this important bill, and it is my hope that we will soon 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.