The U.S. government will pay the Navajo Nation $554 million to settle claims that it mismanaged funds and natural resources on the Navajo reservation. This is the largest settlement ever for a single American Indian tribe.
The Navajo reservation is spread across several states, with portions located in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The 14 million acres of trust lands are leased for grazing, oil, farming, gas, and mineral extraction, The Washington Post reports, as well as for housing, easements, rights-of-way, and businesses.
This settlement resolves a dispute that has some claims going back more than five decades. Under the agreement, the Navajo Nation will terminate its current lawsuit and will not file any further litigation against the government for its historic management and accounting of Navajo funds and resources held in trust; however, it does not affect any existing or potential claims regarding health issues caused by uranium mining or water rights, the Post said.
The settlement will be signed on Friday in Window Rock, Arizona, and the tribe plans on holding town meetings in order for members of the Navajo Nation to decide how the money can be spent or invested.