Attorney: Richard Guest
NARF represents the Pottawatomi Nation of Canada, a band of descendants from the Historic Pottawatomi Nation, which from 1795 to 1873 signed a series of treaties with the United States. These treaties provided for the payment of certain annuities. The ancestors of the present-day Canadian Pottawatomi fled to Canada following the signing of the final treaty and were never paid their annuities as promised.
The American Pottawatomi bands recovered the payment of these annuities in the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), but the Pottawatomi members who now reside in Canada could not bring a claim in the ICC. In 1993, NARF brought suit on behalf of the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada in the Court of Federal Claims, by way of a congressional reference bill, to seek redress. The Nation and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement in principle which the Court accepted in September 2000, and recommended to Congress in January 2001.
Attempts to pass congressional legislation approving the settlement agreement have stalled on several occasions. In April 2002, Senator Daniel K. Inouye introduced a bill in the 107th Congress -- S.2127 "For the Relief of the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada for Settlement of Certain Claims Against the United States." The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in September 2002, but did not pass the House prior to the end of the session. The bill was re-introduced by Senator Inouye during the 108th, 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses, but the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to take any action on it. On January 25, 2011, Senator Inouye introduced Senate Bill 60 for consideration during the 112th Congress. Senate Bill 60 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. On September 14, 2011, Congressman Kildee introduced HR 2928 which was referred to the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Affairs. NARF is working closely with the Nation's leadership and is developing a legislative strategy for approval of the settlement by both the House and Senate this session.