The program was first established in the late 1990s when the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana began making payments to individual tribal minors from casino gaming proceeds. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 obligates tribes that make ‘per capita’ payments to minors to protect and preserve these funds, distributing them to parents or legal guardians for “health, education, or welfare, of the minor or legally incompetent person under a plan approved by the Secretary [of the Interior] and the governing body of the Indian tribe…” (Section 2710. Tribal gaming ordinances, (b) (3) (C)).
The Tribal Council is the Trustee and Settlor of the Trusts established for the benefit of its tribal minors. Historically, a major financial institution has served as the Trust Administrator and Disbursement Review committee, making recommendations to the Council as to whether or not a given request meets the program’s guidelines and parameters for access of the minor’s trust account.
Tunica-Biloxi members, upon reaching the age of 21, may close out their trust accounts after meeting with a financial advisor. Prior to that closure, members are allowed to withdraw funds for the reasons stated in IGRA, health, education and general welfare, however, all requests must be justified in accordance with program guidelines and supported with the proper and required documentation.
This program has afforded many tribal members the opportunity to receive health care and educational support that would not have been available to them otherwise. The program has contributed significantly to improving the quality of life and standard of living for tribal families.
The department has two staff members, a Trust Program Director and an Administrative Assistant, who process all requests in conjunction with the Trust Administrator, and handles communication between the financial institution, the Tribal Council and tribal families. The staff also assist members in the application process as needed or called upon.
The Tunica-Biloxi’s Minors’ Trust Program endeavors to support and guide tribal members and families as they navigate through the benefits available to them per the Master Trust Document and the tribe’s Revenue Distribution Plan.
For more information, contact:
Brenda W. Lintinger, Program Director
Samantha Macaluso, Administrative Assistant