Western Shoshone man sues BLM for $30M in grazing fee fight

Raymond Yowell, a member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone in Nevada, is suing the federal government for $30 million.

Yowell grazed his cattle on land promised to the Western Shoshone people under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. But the Bureau of Land Management claims he and other tribal members owe $2.5 million in in fees and fines.

To settle the debt, the BLM seized Yowell's cattle and fined him $180,000. Since he doesn't have the money, the government has been taking it out of his Social Security check.

"I'm supposed to get about $900 a month but I'm only getting $779 because they take $137," Yowell told the Associated Press.

The Indian Claims Commission ruled that the 60 million acres promised to the Western Shohone was gradually lost over the years. In 2004, Congress passed a bill to distribute more than $145 million for the taking.

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Tribal leader suing government for $30M (AP 8/4)