The Big Payback

The Big Paycheck

The White House will pay $554 million to resolve claims among Navajo Indians as far back as the 60s in which the US government is guilty of mismanaging Navajo trust accounts and resources on more than 14 million acres (5.7 million hectares) of land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.

In return for $554 million, the Navajo Tribe agreed to dismiss its lawsuit and forego further litigation over previous U.S. management of Navajo funds and resources held in trust by the federal government but the payoff does not hamper the Navajo Tribe from pursuing future trust claims, or any separate claims over water and uranium pollution on its reservation, Navajo Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said.

The Navajo Tribe has more than 300,000 members, and the largest by land mass, occupying 27,000 square miles (70,000 sq km) across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has come out and called the agreement historic.

There is still similar settlements with 41 tribes for about $1 billion collectively. Since then, the United States has resolved breach of trust claims by nearly 40 additional tribes for more than $1.5 billion.