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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Justice for American Indian nations

One thing I like about the Obama administration is his attempts to dealjustly with American Indian tribes. One example of this is a recent settlement with the nations to settle royalty payments for century old leases, see story at Buffalo Post. The AP story includes this important context and information, 
Under an agreement announced Tuesday, the Interior Department would distribute $1.4 billion to more than 300,000 Indian tribe members to compensate them for historical accounting claims, and to resolve future claims. The government also would spend $2 billion to buy back and consolidate tribal land broken up in previous generations. The program would allow individual tribe members to obtain cash payments for land interests divided among numerous family members and return the land to tribal control.
The settlement also would create a scholarship account of up to $60 million for tribal members to attend college or vocational school.
If cleared by Congress and a federal judge, the settlement would be the largest Indian claim ever approved against the U.S. government – exceeding the combined total of all previous settlements of Indian claims.
Last year, a federal judge ruled that the Indian plaintiffs are entitled to $455 million, a fraction of the $47 billion or more the tribes have said they are owed for leases that have been overseen by the Interior Department since 1887.


If you click on the "Native American" tag on the bottom of this post, you will find many stories about how the European invaders took advantage of the tribes. No one, including myself, believes the indigenous people were clueless dupes, but the Christian invaders rarely let their faith interfere with making money. That's still true today. I am glad my government is attempting to correct historic wrongs. I hope Congress and the judge approve this settlement.

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