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Associated Press, Published November 26 2012

Dakotas tribes settle claims with federal government over land, trust mismanagement

MITCHELL, S.D. — Four tribes in the Dakotas that claimed tribal money and trust lands were mismanaged have received more than $100 million through settlements with the federal government.

The federal government is paying more than $1 billion to dozens of tribes across the country that worked to reclaim money they said was lost in mismanaged accounts and from royalties for oil, gas, grazing and timber rights on tribal lands. The settlement was announced in April.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and South Dakota is getting $49 million, Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told The Daily Republic newspaper. In South Dakota, the Rosebud Sioux are getting $20 million, the Lower Brule Sioux $18 million and the Crow Creek Sioux $14.5 million.

Other tribes are in negotiations with the Justice Department, according to Hornbuckle.

It is up to the tribes to determine how to spend the money, he said.

The tribal settlements are separate from a class-action trust funds lawsuit involving individual members of tribes that initially was filed by Blackfeet tribal member Elouise Cobell in Montana. That $3.4 billion settlement was reached in 2009 after more than a dozen years of litigation.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.