NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — This week a select group of Quapaw Nation members have started receiving funds after a settlement was reached with the United States Government.
Tribal leaders share the significance of what this achievement means to them.
Grace Goodeagle, Quapaw Tribal Elder, said, “Well it started before me even, it started actually a couple generations ago with my grandfather”
Tribal Elder Grace Goodeagle says even in her grandfather’s generation there were problems working with the government.
“There were some stories that there was some mismanagement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was only in recent years we decided we would take some action.”
And the tribe did.
After 17 years Quapaw Nation finally reached a settlement with its Goodeagle versus the United States case.
This week $59 million was deposited in the tribe’s Bank of Oklahoma trust account.
More than 570 tribal members will benefit from a portion of that funding, in addition to the tribe.
John. L. Berrey, Quapaw Nation Chairman, said, “Were kind of sad a lot of people passed away that should have gotten this money but their children will get it. People that helped us work on this lawsuit that have now passed away its exciting but it’s also sort of reflective.”
Those awarded money from the case were selected based on their family history of land ownership, and resources on their land as a part of the Quapaw Reservation.
Tribal Elder Grace Goodeagle’s family name was selected to represent the tribe filing the lawsuit.
“The monetary part was not so much on mind. Just having the Unites States Government admit that they quote blew it unquote and they have admitted it,” said Goodeagle.
Checks began distribution yesterday and will continue throughout the next few days to the tribal members.
The tribe is also working on additional settlement cases including the Bear Lawsuit and the Quapaw Tribe suit.