NPR: NCAI president discusses settlement of Indian trust lawsuit
"The U.S. Senate has approved a payout of more than $4.5 billion to settle longstanding claims of government mismanagement and discrimination against black and Native American Farmers. Host Allison Keyes speaks with Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians and John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association about the settlement and whether it goes far.

Mr. JEFFERSON KEEL (Lieutenant Governor, Chickasaw Nation; President, National Congress of American Indians): Thank you for having me.

Mr. KEEL: Well, similar to the Pigford lawsuit, which was just talked about, the same type of actions were taken and we're just happy that Congress has seen fit to move these things forward. And they're finally getting to the point where they are receiving - they will be able to receive the restitution that they're entitled to.

KEYES: For the American Indian farmers, though, it isn't about loans, is it? It's about mineral rights?

Mr. KEEL: It's about mineral rights and the mismanagement of those accounts. And many of those, you know, access to having those rights. And so there are some similarities, though.

KEYES: How long ago did the discrimination go in the American Indians' cases, Jefferson?

Mr. KEEL: Well, it goes back decades. In fact, even in the Cobell settlement, you know, when Elouise Cobell filed her suit in 1996, that included hundreds of individuals, more than 300,000 individual Indians. And so all of those claims and all of these suits have some similarities. But it's all about discrimination and mismanagement. And we're finally getting to the point where we can reconcile many of those differences."

Get the Story:
African American And Native American Farmers Reach Settlements (NPR 11/22)

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

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