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Cobell | Opinion
Opinion: Indian trust beneficiaries finally getting paid?


"It’s not true that every Native American gets a fat check each month. It's definitely myth that the government pays them a monthly allotment for land White people took from them. True, some tribes have casinos, logging, oil and grazing lands, but nothing has been given to them without strings attached or without tremendous resentment.

The Native American population is the poorest of the poor. Those living on reservations might own their humble homes, but they do not necessarily own the land where their house sits.

Other reservations provide modest government issued housing for residents, but there is no opportunity for them to purchase their home. The 26 percent Native American poverty rate is not statistically different from rates for African Americans and Hispanics, but higher than those of non-Hispanic Whites, Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Government policies and practices, past and present, have contributed to the bilking of Native Americans for hundreds of years. An untold amount of money is owed to Native Americans dating back more than a century.

Apparently, the money was lost, stolen or never collected. But based on Barack Obama’s initiative, a government settlement will allow more Native Americans wealth they are owed. The Obama administration has settled the largest class-action lawsuit ever filed against the Federal government. Under agreement to the protracted and contentious lawsuit over royalties owed to American Indians, the U.S. Interior Department will distribute a fund that consist of $1.4 billion to more than 300,000 tribe members to compensate them for historical accounting claims and to resolve future claims that trust assets were mismanaged by U.S. officials."

Get the Story:
William Reed: The Indians Get Paid – Well, Sort Of (The Washington Informer 1/12)

Relevant Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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