The mistreatment and exploitation of Native American communities is not a thing of ancient history, but has continued to the modern era. The latest example is how the federal government failed it is duty to be a good steward of the lands it was supposed to hold in trust for Native nations.
The Native American Rights Fund announced that the U.S. government has agreed to pay 17 tribes $492 million “to compensate for decades of lost income due to government mismanagement of tribal trusts.” According to its statement:
Starting with treaties signed in the 19th Century, the United States was named as trustee for large areas of tribal land. Under the treaties, the United States was to hold the Indian lands and money for the benefit of the Native American people. As trustee, they handled leasing the land for uses such as grazing, oil, and farming. However, the government did not prove to be a good trustee.
A story from National Public Radio said:
The settlements mark the end of a push by the Obama administration to resolve what the U.S. says is more than 100 lawsuits totaling more than $3.3 billion brought by American Indian individuals and tribal governments against the federal government. The policy of reaching settlements on the disputes, some of which date back more than a century, is part of a campaign promise the president made to American Indians before he took office.
This is the second round of such settlements, and the total number of cases settled now is 95.
For more on a new book of Ojibwe stories and a federal rule that allows tribal members to collect plants in national parks, read on. Continue reading