On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H. Res. 668, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H. Res. 668 was introduced by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on May 30, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which took no official action on the bill.
H. Res. 668 would allow the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and its tribal members to pursue their Indian trust-related claims in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Pursuant to the Congressional “reference statutes” (28 USC Secs. 1492, 2509), the Federal Court of Claims would review the Quapaw Indian Tribe’s grievances regarding mismanagement of resources against the federal government. The resolution would allow the Court to consider the case by referring H.R. 5862, a bill that would allow the Court to determine what restitution, if any, is owed to the tribe. Under this procedure, the Court would issue a report (favorable or unfavorable) on the Tribe’s claims. If the Court finds in favor of the Tribe’s claim, it would form the basis of a directive to the Secretary of the Treasury to pay money to the Tribe to redress grievances.
According to the sponsor’s office, the resolution would refer the claims of mismanagement by the federal government to the Court of Federal Claims. It would not mandate any particular outcome for the claims; rather it would ensure that the claims are heard.
The following is a timeline of key events relating to the Quapaw’s claim:
- February 2002: Quapaw Tribe files lawsuit for accounting of the USG’s management of the Tribe’s financial and other assets. (The U.S. Government manages trust assets for Quapaw Tribe and individual Indian allottees and their successors.)
- November 2004: Quapaw Tribe and the federal government agree to perform Quapaw Analysis, in exchange Tribe agrees to Dismissal of Lawsuit with Prejudice.
- April 2005: Court approves Consent Decree dismissing suit and ordering preparation of Quapaw Analysis accounting; Quapaw Analysis to meet the federal government’s trust accounting standards; agreement and consent decree includes agreement that the federal government and the Quapaw Tribe will engage in mediation after completion of Quapaw Analysis.
- June 2010: Quapaw Analysis completed and sent to the federal government.
- August 2010: Quapaw Tribe meets with U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) regarding the Quapaw Analysis to establish guidelines for mediation.
- November 2010: The federal government accepts Quapaw Analysis deliverable.
- February 2011: Second meeting between Quapaw Tribe and DoJ; DoJ decides not to mediate and instead instructs Quapaw Tribe to prepare Settlement Demand.
- May 2011: Quapaw Tribe tenders Settlement Demand; thereafter DoJ indicates that a settlement is unlikely, obliging Quapaw Tribe to file lawsuit in Court of Federal Claims.
- May 2012: Given this manifest, Rep. Cole introduces H.Res.668 / H.R.5862, to allow the Quapaw Tribe a forum to argue its case for mismanagement by the federal government.
- November 13, 2012: DoJ files Motion to Dismiss on procedural and statute of limitation grounds.
A CBO score of H. Res. 668 was not available as of press time.