NPR: USDA agrees to $760M settlement for Indian farmers case
"The United States Department of Agriculture has agreed to pay $680 million in damages to thousands of Native American farmers who say they were denied farm loans. The agreement also includes $80 million in farm debt forgiveness for the Indian plaintiffs, as part of the historic settlement of the class action law suit. Host Michel Martin speaks with South Dakota Native American farmer and lead plaintiff Marilynn Keepseagle, and Joseph Sellers, attorney for the lead plaintiffs.

MARTIN: Ms. Keepseagle, it's been an 11-year battle for you. And on Tuesday, President Obama called this an important step forward in remedying USDA's unfortunate civil rights history. And I wanted to ask: When the settlement was announced, I just - if you could just tell us what that felt like.

Ms. KEEPSEAGLE: Well, number one, I thought I was dreaming, at first. But I thought after 10 and a half years or almost 11 years, you know, we've waited, I didn't think anything was going to become of it.

MARTIN: Really?


MARTIN: You'd lost hope, or you just thought it was an uphill battle to begin with?

Ms. KEEPSEAGLE: Well, it was always an uphill battle. I just think we just didn't have a chance."

Get the Story:
USDA Awards Native Americans Millions In Discrimination Suit (NPR 10/21)

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

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