NESPELEM, Wash. – The Colville Business Council voted unanimously Thursday to distribute the Colville Tribes’ “Ramah Settlement” award through per capita payments.

Last week, CBC Chairman Dr. Michael Marchand signed the claim form necessary to accept the Tribes’ share of the settlement reached in the class action case of Ramah Navajo Chapter, v. Sally Jewell.

The Ramah lawsuit began in 1990 when Indian tribes throughout the country sought recovery for underpayment of contract support costs for over 600 contracts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

For many years, the BIA did not fully fund the Tribes’ administrative costs, saying that Congress did not appropriate enough money.

Courts ruled that BIA had to pay the full contract support costs. The total settlement amount is $940 million, less attorney fees, court costs and a reserve to cover costs of distributing money.

The CBS Management and Budget Committee approved the disbursement of the settlement in per capita payments on Wednesday.

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation expects to receive about $13.4 million from the settlement. It is estimated per capita payments of approximately $1,400 will be distributed to each enrolled Colville member.

The federal government will release the money to the Colville Tribes and deposit in the Tribes’ bank account.

“Our elders, our children, our families, all will benefit from this payment, and it is fitting that we provide this per capita for them and for the overall well-being of the Colville Tribes,” said Andy Joseph Jr., Chairman of the CBS Health and Human Services Committee.