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Delawares of Idaho, Inc. v. Clark

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 19, 2019

DELAWARES OF IDAHO, INC., KANSAS DELAWARE TRIBE OF INDIANS, INC., ARTHUR A. CREECH and WANDA JUNE WEEKS, Plaintiffs,
v.
WILLIAM P. CLARK, Secretary of Interior of the United States of America, Defendant.

          STIPULATED MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is a Joint Motion to Release Funds and Close Case filed by the remaining interested parties to the above captioned matter. See ECF No. 49. For the reasons outlined below, the motion is granted. The Clerk of the Court shall disburse remaining funds held by the Court to the Delaware Tribe of Indians as outlined herein.

         BACKGROUND

         In 1983, the Idaho and Kansas Delawares, representing their enrollees, sued the United States Department of the Interior (Interior or United States) alleging underpayment of funds owed to tribal members under Public Law 96-318. See ECF No. 17 at 1 (Status Report on Compliance with Court's Order); ECF No. 49 (Joint Motion to Release Funds). As part of that litigation, the United States acknowledged that it owed monies to enrollees or members of three tribal entities that descend from the historic Delaware Nation: the Idaho Delawares, the Kansas Delawares, and the Delaware Tribe of Indians. On October 2, 1984, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho entered judgment and ordered the United States to pay monies to enrollees and members of the three tribal entities. ECF No. 17 (“1984 Judgment”) at 1-2 and Attachment A.

         The United States did not timely fulfill its payment obligations under the 1984 Judgment. See ECF No. 17 at 1-2 (Status Report on Compliance with Court's Order). However, after the parties and the Court recalculated the amounts owed by the United States in 2006, the Court Ordered, and the United States paid in full, the following amounts into three separate interest bearing accounts supervised by the District Court:

- $182, 194.53 to 234 Kansas Delawares born after October 3, 1972;
- $45, 157.20 to 58 Idaho Delawares born after October 3, 1972; and
- $1, 186, 964.08 to 1, 372 Cherokee Delawares[1] born after October 3, 1972.

See ECF No. 30 at 1-2 (Final Order of October 31, 2006); ECF No. 31 (Order of December 7, 2006) (noting that the United States had paid the Judgment in full).

         After the United States paid the judgment in full, the three relevant tribal entities began submitting names to the Court for payment. As of April 16, 2010, final distributions had been made to the Idaho Delawares and the Kansas Delawares, thus resolving the matter as to those entities. See ECF No. 38 (Order for Release of Funds to Idaho Delawares); ECF No. 39 (Docket entry closing matter as to the Kansas Delawares). Since April of 2010, the only remaining issue has been ensuring final and just distribution to the Delaware Tribe of Indians and its members.

         On July 11, 2019, the remaining parties filed the pending Joint Motion to Release Funds and Close Case so as to resolve the matter as to the Delaware Tribe of Indians. ECF No. 49.

         ORDER RELEASING REMAINING FUNDS TO THE DELAWARE TRIBE OF INDIANS

         The Court finds that the Delaware Tribe of Indians has made significant and reasonable efforts to find eligible members since 2007, including submitting lists of names to the Court on December 19, 2007, July 22, 2008, and June 30, 2012.

         Of the original 1, 372 Delaware Tribe of Indians members eligible for payment under the Order of October 31, 2006, the Tribe has submitted to the Court names and addresses for 1, 196 members (87% of the original 1, 372 eligible members). Of those 1, 196 names submitted to the Court, 1, 110 members have been successfully paid (81% of the original 1, 372 eligible members). For the other 86 names submitted to the Court, the Court attempted payment but was ultimately unsuccessful, usually because the tribal member moved or the address ...


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