|BIA Native American Indian Trust Funds|
|Bureau of Indian Affairs - Individual Indian Monies and Tribal Trust Accounts|
|Between 1820 and 1934, it was national
policy to break up reservations and parcel out allotments
of 80-160 acres to individual Indian owners. Many of
these lands were rich in timber, minerals, water and
fertile soil. Today, 11 million acres of land are held in
trust for over 387,000 beneficiaries via the Individual
Indian Monies (IIM) system. More than $300 million
annually from agricultural and oil leases, mining and
water rights, rights-of-way and timber sales is collected
by the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) for distribution to owners.
Locating them has become more difficult as the Native American population has become more mobile. BIA has lost track of at least 47,000 account holders (more than 123,000 accounts lack Social Security numbers).
Even many of those who are not listed among the missing don't receive regular statements, and have been unable to verify whether their holdings and payments are correct. The current trust balance is around $450 million, but several billion dollars more have been lost over the years due to undervalued and/or uncollected lease payments, missing records (the majority of BIA's leases are stored in places with no retrieval capacity, like abandoned salt mines) and destroyed checks.
In addition to IIM are some 2000 Tribal Trust Accounts, which includes per capita annual payments, compensation for rights-of-way and court settlements, which total $2.3 billion.
For additional information and claims assistance go to: Indian Trust Fund Search
|Special Note: Besides Tribal Trust Funds and Individual Indian Monies, there are several other accounts Native Americans may be entitled to, such as the Alaska Native Escrow Account, containing escrowed income from land transferred under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to native corporations.|