U.S. Secretary of Interior Announces $186 Million Settlement wit - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

U.S. Secretary of Interior Announces $186 Million Settlement with Two Texoma Tribes


DURANT, OK -- A decade long controversy between two Texoma tribes and the federal government was officially put to rest on Tuesday.

Both the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations will together be receiving $186 million dollars from the government, which settles a long standing dispute dating back more than hundred years.

A controversy dating back more than century was resolved with just a few strokes of a pen by Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Tuesday in Durant.

"This is a hundred years of fighting with your trustee, over things the U.S. government signed up and said it would do, this settles that, makes a financial settlement, and says let’s move forward," said Jewell.

Moving forward was the key focus at the official signing ceremony, which settles a lawsuit filed by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations back in 2005, which claimed the U.S. government mismanaged funds and natural resources that belonged to them, assets the government holds in trust for these communities.

"Our people will now be finally able to come together, and feel better with working with the federal government," said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.

Secretary Jewell wore a traditional tribal neck piece, highlighting the new and historic bond this settlement ensues between the nations and the government.
The United States will pay Choctaw Nation $139.5 million dollars, and Chickasaw Nation $46.5 million under the freshly settled agreement.

"Being in dispute is no fun for the tribes or the U.S. government, working together in what we can uphold in our trust and treaty obligations to the tribes, and what the tribes can do to uphold their people, this is what it's all about," said Jewell.

The combined $186 million dollar settlement not only ends a long standing dispute between the nations and the United States, but it now begins a new chapter for the three sovereigns.

"It is truly turning the page in history I believe, and I think it's a new day that's dawning," said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton.

This agreement is the fifth largest tribal trust settlement to date.

Both nations say they will use the funds to better their tribes and surrounding economies.