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Federal Government To Pay Native American Tribes $940 Million

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Federal Government To Pay Native American Tribes $940 Million

Federal Government To Pay Native American Tribes $940 Million

The federal government plans to pay back Native American tribes nearly $1 billion. A federal judge approved a settlement Tuesday.

In the 1970s, self-determination laws gave tribes the authority to run their own schools, law enforcement, housing and other programs previously overseen by the federal government.

But Congress put a cap on the amount of money tribes should be compensated to manage those services. That left tribes without enough money for things like administrative costs and workers’ compensation.

In 1990, tribal leaders filed a class action lawsuit over inadequate payments.

The issue eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which ultimately agreed with the tribes that the government was liable for those payments. After 25 years attorneys finally settled on the amount of $940 million.

Some 700 tribes and tribal agencies are expected to receive compensation from the agreement, with payments ranging from $8,000 to as much as $58 million.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.