U.S. Department of the InteriorOST News Header
July 2, 2008
Contact: Debby Pafel
(202) 208-4289

Over $71 Million Awaits Account Holders

The Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) is trying to find Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders who have not provided current addresses and have money and/or trust land in their accounts. There is a total of over $71 million that hasn't been distributed because OST does not have current addresses for account holders. Some IIM accounts have balances of more than $100,000.

OST refers to account holders whose incorrect address information precludes delivery of their statements and checks as "Whereabouts Unknown" (WAU). At this time, there are more than 82,000 WAUs.

"We have many stories that show how finding a WAU can change lives," said Special Trustee Ross Swimmer. "Like the person who found out right before Christmas that she had an account, or the person who had been adopted and who was reunited with blood relations when he learned about his account."

To help locate WAUs, OST representatives will participate in the fourth annual American Indian cultural celebration and market on July 19, 2008, in the Mission District of San Francisco. Special Trustee Swimmer, a member of the Cherokee Nation who served as the principal chief for three terms, will be attending the event. He will participate in ceremonies along with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

With over 100 tribes, California is the state with the largest population of American Indians. During the relocation era in the 1950s and 1960s, many American Indians left Indian lands to find work and educational opportunities in cities such as Oakland and San Francisco. A significant number of American Indians live in the San Francisco area.

Special Trustee Swimmer will be available for interviews during parts of the day-long program. For event information, call 916-978-6168.


The mission of the Office of Special Trustee is to carry out the Department’s 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.