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Trust funds distributed

The Department of the Interior announced Nov. 18 that approximately $756 million has been distributed to individual Indian and tribal trust accounts in fiscal year 2009.

The number includes $342 million to individual account holders and $414 million to tribal governments.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar noted that $9.5 billion has been disbursed into the accounts since 1996.

“When you access this year’s independent audit online, in addition to tribal and Individual Indian Money trust funds statements, you’ll also see a few of the improved services to beneficiaries that took place over the last year,” Salazar said.

“However, we are well aware that work remains to ensure that significant trust reform efforts of the Department of the Interior continue to move forward.”

The Cobell litigation, which alleges decades of trust mismanagement by Interior, is ongoing. Salazar has not moved to settle the case, despite the hopes of some Indian litigants.

Salazar said he aims to make trust dealings more transparent.

More information on the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians and the Indian trust fund is available online.