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article imageUS approves $4.5 billion in reparations to Indians, black farmers

By William Charles Baker     Dec 9, 2010 in World
Legislation has been signed by President Barack Obama to provide $4.5 billion in reparations to American Indians and Black farmers.
The settlement is to cover mistreatment claims by the U.S. Government over past years. The Claims Settlement Act covers disputes in New Mexico, Arizona and Montana over Native American water rights. It provides royalty rights for land used for timber, oil, grazing, and gas and overseen by the Interior Department since 1887.
The act also addresses allegations of discrimination against Black framers in receipt of loans and other subsidies by the Department of Agriculture.
A lawsuit was initiated 14 years ago by Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana. Cobell states in the Missoulian that the law was a “landmark milestone to justice for Native people.”
John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association, told Voice of America, “It's very, very good that black farmers will finally have the opportunity to have their cases heard, based on their merit”.
The act previously approved in the Senate was voted for approval in the House of Representatives and signed by President Obama.
Considered long overdue by proponents, many were surprised the act made it through the approval process at all. And despite the approval, there were votes against the bill in light of current economic conditions.
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