The Colville Business Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will seek opinions of tribal members 13 and older on the release of “Minor Trust Account” payments, CBC Chairman Michael O. Finley said.
“The Council will issue a survey to our membership, asking for their help in addressing the issue of lump-sum trust account payments to our young people when they reach 18,” Finley said in a press release. “The lump-sum payments to 18-year-olds have been a cause for concern among some of our CBC. We are considering ways we might improve this system, providing incentives to our youth to stay in school and lead healthy lifestyles.”
Finley said the survey, which will be printed in the Colville Tribal Tribune, available on its website, and sent to the membership through a variety of other media, may be completed by any Colville member 13 or older.
“It’s important to give tribal young people a voice in this process,” he said. “They are going to be affected by any decision we might make, and we want to hear from them as well as from tribal adults.”
The survey poses a number of options for linking the release of payments — sometimes called “18 Money” because tribal members receive it at age 18 — to scholastic achievement, successful completion of financial literacy training, and having no criminal record.
Finley said some other tribes have placed restrictions on the release of similar payments, such as delaying the issuance of the full amount until age 25 if the recipient does not have a high school diploma or GED.
“This is a matter of concern to tribal leaders across the country,” he said. “We are asking for guidance from our membership to make the best decisions for our tribal youth.”
The deadline for return of the surveys is May 31. After that, the results will be compiled and the CBC will discuss the issue, likely with the help of a workgroup.
“This is an issue that affects the entire membership, and we want to assure that every member interested in assisting the CBC has the opportunity to participate in the process,” Finley said.