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Indian trust case settlement likely, says McCain

[JURIST] Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs [official website], said Wednesday he expects a settlement in the Corbell v. Norton lawsuit [plaintiffs website] brought by American Indians for back trust royalties owed to them by the US government. But he said the $27.5 billion figure sought is too high, doubting Congress would authorize such a payout. The suit claims the US Department of the Interior [official website] mismanaged resource royalty claims related to Indian lands dating back to 1887. The suit was filed in 1996, and the court has held both Clinton-era Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and current Secretary Gale Norton in contempt in connection with problems related to government record-keeping. It made news again earlier this week after the federal judge presiding in the case slammed the Interior Department [JURIST report] for management lapses and ordered it to tell Indian trust claimants that it may have provided inaccurate information to them. AP has more.

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