Tuesday, December 08, 2009

US government has agreed to pay $3.4bn to settle Native Americans land case

The US government has agreed to pay $3.4bn to settle a long-running case over Native American land. The Cobell case, filed in 1996, alleged the government had mismanaged billions of dollars in income from natural resources on Native American land. Under the deal the interior department will share $1.4bn among 300,000 tribe members as compensation and set up a $2bn fund to buy land from them. President Barack Obama said it was "an important step towards reconciliation". The dispute dates back to the 1887 Dawes Act, which seized Indian land - much of it rich in natural resources - and gave it to white-owned companies to exploit. Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfoot tribe and who filed the complaint in 1996, welcomed the settlement, saying the administration had listened to Native American concerns. But she said there was "no doubt" that the final amount was "significantly" less than what those affected actually deserved. (BBC)