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U.S. House Clears Native American Settlements (Nov 30, 2010)

The House has passed landmark legislation to pay for some $4.6 billion in settlements with American Indians and black farmers who say they faced discrimination and mistreatment from the government.

Lawmakers voted 256-152 to send the measure to President Barack Obama, whose administration brokered the settlements over the past year.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4) in a statement called the legislation a fair and responsible resolution to an historic wrong, and a bargain for American taxpayers.

"Today's approval of the Cobell settlement is an historic development for Native American communities, which will finally receive just compensation for decades of unfair government mismanagement of their lands," Cole said.

The package would award some $3.4 billion to American Indians over claims they were cheated out of royalties overseen by the Interior Department for resources like oil, gas and timber. Another $1.2 billion would go to African-Americans who claim they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance from the Agriculture Department.

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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