U.S. Moves to Settle Dispute with Indian Tribes
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The Obama administration announced Tuesday it intends to pay $3.4 billion to settle claims with American Indian tribes who claim they were swindled out of oil, gas, grazing and other leasing royalties over the past century.
The Interior Department said it wanted to resolve its 13-year lawsuit and distribute $1.4 billion to more than 300,000 Indian tribe members for historical accounting claims dating back to the 19th century and to resolve future claims.
The government also said it would spend $2 billion to buy back and consolidate tribal land broken up in previous generations, according to The Associated Press.
If approved by Congress, it would be the largest settlement on an Indian claim ever against the U.S. government.
The New York Times reports President Barack Obama hailed the agreement as an “important step towards a sincere reconciliation” between the federal government and American Indians, many of whom, he said, considered the protracted lawsuit a “stain” on the nation.
“I pledged my commitment to resolving this issue, and I am proud that my administration has taken this step today,” the President said.