A $3.4 billion settlement in a class-action lawsuit for American Indians has received final approval from a federal judge. District Judge Thomas Hogan announced approval last month of the settlement in the case (Cobell v. Salazar), which found the Department of Interior mismanaged lands held in trust on behalf of Native Americans. The suit was originally settled in December 2009 and then approved by Congress last November.
The judge’s approval will allow hundreds of thousands of Native Americans who either had Individual Indian Money accounts, an interest in trust, or restricted land managed by the Interior Department, to receive payments of at least $1,000 each. Parts of the settlement will go toward buying interest in trust lands and a scholarship fund.
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