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Authors

Allison Cafer

Abstract

Land has been held in trust by the United States government for Native Americans since Congress enacted the General Allotment Act of 1887. In recent decades the management of the trust accounts has been called into question by the Native American beneficiaries and has resulted in complex litigation. The government has acknowledged that there has been gross mismanagement of the trusts, to the extent that balances in many of the individual accounts are unknown. After lengthy litigation resulting in victory for the Native Americans, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell has introduced legislation that he claims will resolve the trust fund matter in a fair and reasonable manner for the Native Americans and will save the government millions of dollars. The legislation would establish a task force to determine trust account balances and provide Native Americans with the option of arbitration if they do not accept the initial findings regarding the balance of their trust accounts. This Note addresses whether this legislation is in fact in the best interest of the Native Americans and what, if any, alternatives would better resolve the problem of the government's continuing mismanagement of the trusts.

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