Senate approves $3.4B settlement for Indian trust fund lawsuit
The Senate approved the $3.4 billion settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit on Friday.

The plaintiffs and the Obama administration announced the settlement last December. But Republican opposition tied up the deal in the Senate until last week, when it passed by unanimous consent as part of the Claims Settlement Act of 2010.

"I applaud the Senate for passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, which will at long last provide funding for the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "I particularly want to thank Attorney General Holder and Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack for their continued work to achieve this outcome. I urge the House to move forward with this legislation as they did earlier this year, and I look forward to signing it into law."

The bill now goes to the House, where it has passed twice as part of other legislation. A vote is expected after Thanksgiving.

"The U.S. House of Representatives still needs to pass the pending legislation. It has passed two previous bills approving the settlement," lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, said in a statement. "Once this measure is signed by President Obama we will finally be able to return to the courts to begin the process of restoring funds to Indian people across the nation."

Get the Story:
U.S. Senate finally passes Cobell settlement (Missoula News 11/19)
U.S. Senate passes historic Cobell settlement, Crow water compact (The Clark Fork Chronicle 11/19)
Senate Approves Native American, Black Farmer Settlements (The National Journal 11/19)
Senate votes to fund $4.5B settlements (The Washington Post 11/20)
enate Approves Payment of Black Farmers’ Claims (The New York Times 11/20)
Senate Advances Billion-Dollar Settlements for Black Farmers, American Indians (The National Law Journal 11/22)

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

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