Friday, July 24, 2009

Interior Department Called to Calculate Away on Indian Land Trusts

The D.C. Appeals Court reversed a District Court ruling and required the Interior Department to come up with a more complete calculation of Indian land royalties from previous treaties. District Judge James Robertson had estimated the back royalties to be $455 million but Appeals Judge David Sentelle said that the District ruling let off the Interior too easily--though even Sentelle emphasized getting the "low-hanging fruit" rather than seeking the "theoretically perfect." About half a million Native Americans are affected.

Best to learn from the mistakes of the past and make sure that covenants between the Federal Government and other parties are clearly and fully communicated. Could this case be germane if a push by African-Americans to provide "reparations" for past slavery gains momentum? Possibly so.


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