U.S. Will Pay $554M Settlement to Navajo Nation
The U.S. has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation more than half a billion dollars for mismanaging reservation resources and leaving the largest Native American tribe in the country at incredible disadvantages for decades.
The $554 million agreement negotiated earlier this year is also the largest payout to a tribe in U.S. history, and tribal leaders say the payout is a much-needed cash infusion. (Video via YouTube / Ben Shelly)
Spread across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the Navajo Nation has more than 300,000 members. While the region is historically rich with natural resources like oil, gas and coal, other resources like water and good land for agriculture are scarce. (Video via Navajo Tourism Department)
A Navajo lawsuit said from 1946 to 2012, the U.S. didn't negotiate the best deals from companies mining natural resources from the region and didn't make sure the Navajos were compensated properly. (Video via Indian Country Today)
A CCTV investigation in 2012 found that more than 40 percent of the nation's members lived without running water or electricity.
Two areas tribal leaders stressed the settlement didn't cover - water rights and health concerns from uranium mining. The Navajo Nation has several abandoned, Cold War-era uranium mines the tribe worries have caused cancer. (Video via CCTV)
This is another in a long line of settlements by the Obama administration with Native Americans, who had tried in vain for generations to battle government practices and a system that dated back to the 1800s.
The Washington Post reports many tribes with pending litigation wrote to President Obama in 2009 asking the administration to expedite settlements instead of going to court.
Including this Navajo settlement, The Post reports the administration has now reached agreements with more than 80 tribes totaling $2.61 billion.
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