The Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) manages the financial trust assets of more than 370,000 Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. Of those accounts, about 81,000 do not have current contact information on file. Without this information, OST is unable to provide account statements to these Whereabouts Unknown (WAU) beneficiaries.
Special Trustee Ross Swimmer, a member of the Cherokee Nation, and Principal Deputy Special Trustee Donna Erwin, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, will attend the Tribal Self-Governance Conference on April 30, 2008, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Special Trustee Swimmer will address conference participants about OST programs that may be self-governed and he will promote the WAU list posted on the OST website at www.doi.gov/ost.
“There is a total of more than $72 million in the accounts of whereabouts unknown beneficiaries. A few of those accounts have over $100,000 balances,” said Swimmer. “We have seen how lives can be changed when we are able to identify missing owners of accounts.”
Due to the relocation era of the 1950s and ‘60s when Indians moved from Indian Country to cities, urban areas are excellent locations to alert American Indians who may be listed as WAU. Specific WAU queries may be directed to OST’s Trust Beneficiary Call Center at
The mission of OST is to perform our fiduciary trust responsibilities to American Indian Tribes, individual Indians and Alaska natives by incorporating a beneficiary focus and beneficiary participation while providing effective, competent stewardship and management of trust assets.