Native Americans getting final Cobell payments


Starship Earth: The Big Picture

Signs that things are slowly changing . . . The US government has settled land-use royalties and land claims with a group of Native Indians. -LW

HELENA – Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans have started receiving the final cash payments this week from one of the largest government settlements in U.S. history, about three years after the deal was approved.

Checks ranging from $869 to $10 million were sent beginning Monday to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement from a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning.

Some $941 million is being distributed in this second round of payments, plaintiffs’ attorney David Smith said Thursday.

Cobell sued after finding the government squandered billions of dollars in royalties for land it held in trust for individual Indians that was leased for development, exploration or agriculture. The mismanagement stretched back to the 1880s, the…

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