Judge approves settlement over Indian royalties

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has approved a $3.4 billion settlement over mismanaged Indian royalties that represents the largest claim ever made against the U.S. government.

The plaintiffs, including Elouise Cobell of Montana, claimed in the 15-year-old suit that the individual accounts of hundreds of thousands of Indians were mismanaged by the government for more than a century, costing them billions of dollars in oil, timber and other royalties. The two sides settled in 2009 after years of court battles. Congress approved the settlement at the end of last year.

Under the settlement approved Monday, $1.5 billion would go to the Indian account holders. Another $1.9 billion would go to the government to buy back tribal land. An additional $60 million would go to a scholarship fund for Indian students.