$3.4 billion settlement in Cobell litigation involving federal mismanagement of individual tribal trust lands

In the late  19th century, the United States took lands from American Indian nations and transferred them to individual tribal members. Those lands were often managed by the federal government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) which would arrange to lease the lands for grazing and mining purposes. The U.S. was supposed to pay the royalties to the Indian owners but often did not do so and over time many records were lost. Twenty years of litigation has ended with a settlement by which the US will pay $1.4 billion to class members (roughly $1000 per person) and in addition establish a $2 billion fund for the voluntary buy-back and consolidation of fractionated land interests. Read Interior Department press release. Here is the Turtletalk report on the settlement.