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Feds Agree To Pay Navajo Tribe $554 Million For Mismanaging Land

The federal government agreed to pay the Navajo Nation $554 million in a settlement — the largest sum ever paid to a tribe in such a case — following half a century of complaints the feds mismanaged the tribe’s land and resources.

In return for the massive sum, the Navajo tribe dropped its current lawsuit and agreed not to sue again on the issue of land mismanagement, reported The Wall Street Journal. For decades, the tribe has complained the feds have abused Navajo land, which it holds in trust and leases to third parties for purposes such as grazing or oil development.

Dozens of tribes have already collectively won $1 billion in payouts over the last several years from the government over similar claims.

Attorney General Eric Holder called the settlement “historic” and a resolution to “generations” of conflict in a statement reported by The WSJ. “It will provide important resources to the Navajo Nation,” he said.

The tribe’s president, Ben Shelly, said it will hold town hall meetings to decide how to spend the money. “The trust litigation has been a protracted battle, and in the end, it was a victory for tribal sovereignty,” he said in a statement.

The settlement will be announced Friday at a ceremony in Little Rock, Ariz.

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