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Cobell | Opinion
Editorial: Overdue justice for Indian landowners with settlement

"Even in the face of partisan bickering in the United States over the approval of an arms reduction treaty, Democrats and Republicans came together last week to address a long-standing claim of underpayment and resource mismanagement brought by the African-American and American-Indian communities here. On Friday the U.S. Senate passed a Bill that sought to provide $4.55 billion in compensation to the two minority communities. Its passage marks the culmination of an effort by the Obama administration and the 111th Congress to finally settle a backlog of claims relating to allegations of racism and unfair practice in land purchased from African-American farmers and “historical injustice” meted out to the American-Indian community in the management of their funds.

In addition to the African-American farmers’ cause the Bill set aside $3.4 billion for the American-Indian community under another long-standing case, Cobell versus Salazar.

According to the Bill’s mandate the funds would be disaggregated as $1.4 billion for settlement of accounting and mismanagement claims and another “$2 billion for addressing fractionation of individual Indian land” the National Congress of American-Indians said in a statement.

The tribes that would benefit from this settlement included the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, the Crow Tribe in Montana, the Aamodt in New Mexico, and Pueblo of Taos in New Mexico.

Speaking after the Bill passed in the Senate Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “With the Senate’s approval of the Cobell settlement and... four Indian water rights settlements, this is a day that will be etched in our memories and our history books.”"

Get the Story:
Editorial: Senate Bill delivers overdue justice to minorities (The Hindu 11/22)

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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