The Osage Tribe and its advisors from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Pipestem Law Firm PC recently celebrated its $380 million settlement at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The settlement, the largest-ever made by a tribe against the United States government was the culmination of 11 years of litigation regarding the mismanagement of Osage tribal assets by the U.S. government.
“We are very pleased with [October 21]’s settlement, which has been a long time coming,” stated Don Pongrace, head of Akin Gump’s American Indian law and policy practice and leader of the Akin legal team that represented the Osage Tribe in the negotiations.
“Not only does this provide justice and satisfaction to our client via the resolution of this decades-long dispute, but it also reaffirms the trust and strong relationship between the U.S. government and the Osage Tribe,” Pongrace said.
Those in attendance for the signing ceremony were a number of U.S. government officials and more than 30 Osage tribal officials and counsel representatives.
“I am pleased that this settlement has finally come about. Too many tribal elders have passed on waiting for this day. This is a great day for the Osage Tribe,” said John D. Red Eagle, Osage principal chief.
The settlement that has been approved by the U.S. government is currently before the U.S. Treasury for confirmation of payment from the Judgment Fund. The agreement was supported by 99.5 percent of Osages owning headrights—expected to commence by December 5.