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Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
DOI has managed and invested Indian trust funds for tribes and Individual Indian Money beneficiaries for more than 100 years. In 1994, enactment of the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act made it possible for Indian tribes to withdraw their trust funds from DOI for independent management.
Currently, OST manages Indian trust funds. When a tribe withdraws its funds:
They may be invested in a broader range of financial options than those for which OST is authorized.
DOI no longer bears a fiduciary responsibility for those funds.
They may be returned to DOI for management at a later date.
DOI's fiduciary trust responsibility is reinstated if a tribe returns the funds.
Who is eligible to withdraw tribal trust funds?
Any tribe for whom OST manages funds in trust may be eligible to withdraw its funds and manage them independently.
What funds may be withdrawn?
The 1994 Act provides specific authority for tribes to withdraw judgment and settlement funds that are deposited in trust with DOI. Tribes may withdraw other funds held in trust under several other authorities.
Are there restrictions?
There are a number of requirements for withdrawal under the 1994 Act. There also may be specific statutory restrictions. For example, an act of Congress or settlement agreement may require certain funds to remain in trust. All restrictions are explained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapter 25, Part 1200
What is the withdrawal process?
The Code of Federal Regulations defines how tribes may withdraw their funds from trust, how to return funds to trust, and how to request assistance to prepare plans to manage the funds when removed from OST management. A tribe must submit several documents to OST, including:
Copy of the formal agreement between the tribe and the proposed manager of the funds, unless the funds are managed in-house
Tribal Management Plan that includes investment goals, strategies and information on the individuals and institutions that will be involved in the investment and/or management of the funds
After an application is determined to be complete, OST has 90 days to review and evaluate the withdrawal request. Following the review, OST provides DOI with a recommendation on the application. To request an application package to withdraw tribal funds, do one of the following: