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Apr 11, 2012 7:51 PM by Matt Stafford

Tribes, government agree to $1 billion settlement

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - The federal government says it will pay more than $1 billion to settle a series of lawsuits brought by American Indian tribes over mismanagement of trust lands.

The settlement announced jointly by the Justice Department and the Interior Department resolves claims brought by 41 tribes from across the country.

The Interior Department manages about 2,500 tribal trust accounts for more than 250 tribes, including leases for oil and gas and grazing rights. Dozens of tribes have filed suit in recent years claiming the accounts have been mismanaged.

The agreement announced Wednesday is in addition to the $3.4 billion settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought by the late Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont. That deal settled cases brought by 500,000 individual Indians over the government's mismanagement of trust lands.

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