The Crow Tribe, based in Montana, received $10 million this week, putting an end to a deal reached more than a year ago to settle trust accounting claims against the U.S. Department of Interior.
Spokesmen for the tribe said the money will go toward the tribe's social and educational needs, help with overall care and development of the reservation and its resources, and pay off some debt.
The tribe and the Interior Department actually agreed to the $10 million settlement in April 2005.
The tribe sued the Interior Department in 2002, alleging that the government had mismanaged its trust fund accounts, which were controlled by either the Interior Department or the Treasury from 1972 to 1992. The government settled without admitting liability.
The Crow settlement does not address other significant claims, including water rights, alleged trespassing within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area and claims for land created by the movement of the Bighorn River.A larger class-action suit, filed in 1996 on behalf of as many as 500,000 individual Indians, some members of the Crow Tribe, remains unsettled. That suit accuses the Interior Department of mishandling the funds it collected for over a century from oil, gas, timber and other companies leasing Indian land. The suit says that the mismanagement amounts to $137 billion, while the government has offered up to $27.5 billion to settle .
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