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Indian farmers seek trial on discrimination claims

Indian farmers who are part of a $19 billion class action are going to court on Thursday to ask for a trial on their discrimination claims.

The farmers filed their suit against the Department of Agriculture in 1999. They say the agency systematically denied loans to tribal members starting in 1981.

"It's illegal, racist and discriminatory," Tex Hall, the chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, told the Associated Press. "Every day this continues, we lose another Native farmer or rancher. Families are literally hanging on by a thread."

The government settled a similar case involving African-American farmers. Nearly $1 billion has been paid out.

Get the Story:
Racism in USDA? (AP 9/26)

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