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Indian farmers reach $760M settlement for USDA discrimination


Indian farmers and ranchers who experienced discrimination at the Department of Agriculture reached a settlement worth $760 million with the Obama administration.

The settlement in the Keepseagle case covers the years 1981-1999. It provides $680 million in damages payments to Indian farmers and ranchers and creates an $80 million loan forgiveness fund.

The settlement creates two tracks. For the first, those who can show they were the victims of discrimination and complained about it are eligible for payments of up to $50,000.

The second track allows payments of up to $250,000. Claimants must provide proof of actual economic losses they suffered after suffering discrimination and after complaining about it.

According to the plaintiffs, the $680 million represents 88 percent of $776 million in economic losses that Indian farmers and ranchers suffered between 1981 and 2007.

In addition to the monetary component, the settlement creates a Native American Farmer and Rancher Council to discuss Indian Country issues at USDA. The council will have 15 members, 11 of whom will be Native Americans or advocates for Native American farmers and ranchers. The remaining four will represent the USDA.

The money for the settlement will come from the federal government's Judgment Fund so it won't require Congressional approval.

Get the Story:
Deal struck in lawsuit by Indian farmers (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 10/20)
USDA to pay American Indian farmers $680M in discrimination lawsuit (The Oklahoman 10/20)
Another Discrimination Settlement Announced (Hoosier Ag Today 10/20)
Gov't Announces $760M Settlement For Native American Farmers TPMMuckraker 10/20)
Keepseagle Settlement Pleases Native American Farmers, Ranchers (KFYR-TV 10/19)
Native American farmers settle with USDA for $760 million (The Washington Post 10/19)
U.S. Offers Settlement To American Indian Farmers (NPR 10/19)
Government settles lawsuit with Native American farmers (CNN 10/19)
US to Pay Native American Farmers $680M in Farm Loan Discrimination Case (ABA Journal 10/19)
Native American Farmers Win $680M in Discrimination Suit (AP 10/20)
U.S. settles Native American farmers' lawsuit for $760M (The Hill 10/19)
DOJ Reaches Deal in American Indian Discrimination Lawsuit (Main Justice 10/19)

Relevant Documents:
Plaintiffs Press Release | Settlement | Notice Form A | Notice Form B
Damages Award | Loan Debt Relief
Native American Farmers and Ranchers Council | Named Plaintiffs
President Obama Statement | USDA Press Release

Related Stories:
Keepseagle won't need Congressional approval for settlement (10/19)
Justice Department reviewing settlement in Indian farmer case (10/14)
Settlement reportedly near in Indian farmer discrimination suit (10/13)
USDA loan officer in Montana was arrested for incident at Fort Peck (7/30)
No word of settlement in Indian farmers discrimination suit (5/26)
Standing Rock Sioux ranchers complain about loan office (4/22)
'Nowhere close' to deal in Indian farmer discrimination suit (4/8)
Deadline approaches for Indian farmers discrimination suit (4/6)
NCAI pushes for settlement in USDA discrimination suit (3/17)
Indian farmers wait on settlement over discrimination (2/26)
Indian farmers receive fewer services despite more land (1/15)
Settlement talks underway in Indian farmers lawsuit (12/9)
USDA not ready for Indian discrimination talks (9/29)
Indian farmers set for USDA discrimination trial (9/11)
Indian farmers wait for settlement with Obama (9/8)
Indian farmers prepare for discrimination trial (5/26)
Indian farmers ready for trial in discrimination case (3/5)
Indian ranchers seek settlement from Obama (3/4)