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More Waiting for Native American Plaintiffs in $3.4B Deal (Dec 05, 2010)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Native Americans who sued the federal government over lost royalties have been waiting nearly 15 years for the $3.4 billion settlement Congress passed last month. Now they'll have to wait some more.

The lead plaintiffs expect it will be at least next August before more than 300,000 Indian trust landowners see a dime. They estimate it could be early 2012 before the last claims are settled.

Once President Barack Obama signs the legislation, the settlement will have to pass through a gauntlet of court hearings, a media campaign to notify beneficiaries and several waiting periods for comments and appeals.

But despite the red tape, lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., says the biggest obstacle by far was obtaining congressional approval.



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