Sunday, March 26, 2023
54 F
HomeLegalFederal Judge awards Nation $330.7 million in trust case

Federal Judge awards Nation $330.7 million in trust case

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims awarded the Osage Nation $330,735,185.55 in damages for breach of trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Feb. 24.


The five-page order, issued by Federal Judge Emily Hewitt, said that the Nation was “entitled to a reasonable estimate of the damages it is due” and that the damages calculation by the Nation, $310 million, in the case was short. The damages awarded wraps up Tranche One (phase one) of the case for the period of January 1981 to May 1994.

The order issued Feb. 24 does not include possible damages for claims on the remaining claims in the case – Tranche Two and Tranche Three.   

Judge Hewitt has asked for scheduling proposals from both sides for Tranche Two of the case and is expected in the near future to set a date for a trial to address those remaining claims in the case. Payment on the damages will not be awarded until Tranche Three of the case is complete.


“I’m pleased that it’s such a positive development in the case and now we need to wait to see how the distribution is made,” said Principal Chief John Red Eagle.

The Feb. 24 order follows a series of court decisions and a trial held on June 30 and July 1 of last year in Washington, D.C., in which experts for the federal government in tribal trust accounting and oil royalty calculation testified in the 10-year-old case. The Nation presented testimony from its oil royalty expert and from Koch Industries, Inc. about oil accounting and pricing. The prices Koch offered for oil in Kansas and Oklahoma in the 1981 to 1990 period were a key issue in the trial. 

The Nation’s 10-year-old trust case seeks an accounting of 140 years of mismanagement of the tribe’s oil royalty payments and other alleged malfeasance.

The Osage Trust Team is made up of Principal Chief John Red Eagle, Speaker of the Congress Jerri Jean Branstetter, Osage Minerals Council Chairman Dudley Whitehorn, OMC Councilwoman Cynthia Boone and OMC Councilman Galen Crum.


Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2011-02-25 00:00:00

Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

In Case You Missed it...

Upcoming Events