The federal government settled a massive lawsuit with Native Americans today over a case of financial mismanagement. When the U-S government moved Indians off their lands in the 1800s, Indians were seen as too illiterate to manage money handed them in exchange. So the federal government managed it for them.
But the federal government did a terrible job of it. And in 1996, Elouise Cobell filed a class action lawsuit to stop it. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar described the $3 billion settlement as historic, and a step toward resolving decades of acrimony between Indian tribes and the federal government.
It's a huge change from last year, when a federal appeals court ruled against the Native Americans' case, saying the plaintiffs were only entitled to $455 million. Wisconsin Public Radio's Brian Bull had the report on August, 8, 2008.