Resolution to support for a new permanent endowment program from Keepseagle cy pres funds
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of sixteen elected Chairs and Presidents of sovereign treaty tribes and nations (or their duly appointed representative) that are located within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska; and
WHEREAS, the GPTCA was formed to promote the common interests of the member tribes and their enrolled members in the Great Plains Region; and
WHEREAS, farming and ranching within the large land based Tribes remain a key to economic development for these Tribes; and
WHEREAS, the Keepseagle v. Vilsack class action lawsuit (“Keepseagle”) was filed in 1999 in United States District Court on behalf of all Native American farmers and ranchers who had been discriminated against and denied equal access to credit by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) in the USDA Farm Loan Program; and
WHEREAS, a $760 million Settlement with the USDA was reached in Keepseagle in 2011; and
WHEREAS, the Settlement Agreement provides up to $760 million in monetary relief, debt forgiveness, and tax relief to successful individual Native American farmer or rancher class claimants; and
WHEREAS, The Settlement Agreement provides a mechanism for distributing any leftover Settlement Agreement funds that are not distributed to individual claimants and the settlement award monies are deposited into a Designated Account set-up by Class Counsel and held for the benefit of the class; and
WHEREAS, the Settlement Agreement describes the procedure to distribute leftover settlement funds to non-profit entities that aided Native American farmers between 1981 and the Agreement’s execution date; and
WHEREAS, based upon Keepseagle claims to date there will likely be about $500M in unclaimed cy pres monies that would be distributed to cy pres beneficiaries; and
WHEREAS, the GPTCA believes that cy pres funds should create a long-term solution to Native American agricultural access to credit; and
WHEREAS, an endowment fund that promotes agricultural economic development through microcredit would guarantee independent perpetual assistance to Native American farmers and ranchers with tribal oversight and control; and
WHEREAS, the unclaimed funds of $500M should be used to create a permanent endowment trust for Native American farmers and ranchers to be governed by a Board of Trustees that would utilize the investment income of the fund’s corpus to provide loans, equity grants, programmatic and technical assistance funding to Native American farmers and ranchers; and
WHEREAS, the impact for Tribes with substantial reservation lands available for farming and ranching operations is very significant, including for the Tribes who are members of the GPTCA;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby supports a new permanent endowment trust to be established with investment income used for loans and equity as the most impactful use of Keepseagle cy pres funds to ensure access to capital for Native American farmers and ranchers in perpetuity.
AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of the GPTCA until otherwise amended or rescinded, or until the goal of this Resolution has been accomplished.
Resolution No. 51-11-30-11
This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association held at Rapid City, South Dakota on November 30, 2012 at which a quorum was present, with 9 members voting in favor, 0 members opposed, 0 members abstaining, and 7 members not present.
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