Washington, D.C., partners Paul Moorehead and Brian Gunn have helped secure congressional enactment of the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act after a four-year campaign. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (H.R.4783) on November 30, 2010. The act provides final congressional approval to legislation settling long-standing federal litigation in areas of Indian trust and accounting as well as four separate Indian water settlements. The Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act is among the water settlements and it ends litigation that began in 1966 by ratifying a settlement agreement between the State of New Mexico, the City and County of Santa Fe, and the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque. Paul and Brian, both members of the Indian Tribal Governments Team, have been working with the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque to bring this settlement to completion.

A statement posted on the official White House Blog described the five major settlements for Indian country as “nothing short of historic.” On the approval of four Indian water rights settlements, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, said: “[a]dministration support for four water rights settlements in a single Congress is unprecedented. The settlements reflect the willingness of the parties, including state, tribal and other stakeholders, as well as this administration's commitment, to work together constructively rather than stay locked in an endless cycle of litigation.”

In a press release dated November 30, 2010, President Barack Obama noted that the bill “represents a significant step forward in addressing the water needs of Indian Country.” The president also announced that he will host a second White House Tribal Nations Conference on December 16, 2010, to build upon his administration’s commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian country.

To read the White House Blog post, click here.

To read the president’s press release, click here.