Tags: Indian | Navajos | settlement | history

Navajos Win Biggest Tribal Settlement from US: $554M

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 04:58 PM

The largest settlement in history between a single American Indian tribe and the U.S. government will pour $554 million into the waiting coffers of the Navajos.

In a collection of legal cases, some stretching back for a half-century, the Obama administration has agreed to pay in return for the Navajo Nation's agreement to drop  current lawsuits and all further lawsuits against the U. S. government, the Washington Post reported.

When representatives of the government and the tribe meet Friday at the Window Rock Reservation to sign the agreement papers, the 300,000-member Navajo Tribe plans to organize meetings of tribe members across the massive 27,000-square-mile reservation in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico to discuss how the windfall will be spent, said Ben Shelly, tribal president.

"The Navajo Nation has worked tirelessly for many years to bring this issue to a close,” Shelly told the Post.

"After a long, hard-won process, I am pleased that we have finally come to a resolution on this matter to receive fair and just compensation for the Navajo Nation."

The settlement is for mismanagement of funds and resources on the reservation, whose trust lands are leased for farming, grazing, mining and housing, and administered by the federal government.

Sam Hirsch, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division, told the Post, "From his first days in office, President [Barack] Obama has worked to honor the government-to-government relationships between the United States and tribal governments."

"It reflects my personal commitment to resolving long-standing lawsuits rather than wasting the time and resources of both the United States and Indian tribes in contentious litigation."

The Obama administration has focused on ending American Indian lawsuits that have dragged on for many years, forking over $2.61 billion to 80 tribes in negotiated settlements, including $380 million to Oklahoma's Osage Tribe and a $1 billion settlement with 41 other tribes.

"This historic agreement resolves a long-standing dispute between the United States and the Navajo Nation, including some claims that have been sources of tension for generations," Attorney General Eric Holder said, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"It will provide important resources to the Navajo Nation, and it fairly and honorably resolves a legal conflict over the accounting and management of tribal resources."

"The trust litigation has been a protracted battle, and in the end, it was a victory for tribal sovereignty," Shelly told the Journal. "The Navajo Nation has worked tirelessly for many years to bring this issue to a close."

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The largest settlement in history between a single American Indian tribe and the U.S. government will pour $554 million into the waiting coffers of the Navajos.
Indian, Navajos, settlement, history
414
2014-58-24
Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 04:58 PM
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