Tribes to get $100 million back pay

A federal court has approved payment of almost a billion dollars by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to 700 tribes across the nation. The settlement is for decades of underpayment by the BIA to tribes for education, road construction, and other contracts.

On Wednesday, New Mexico federal judge James Parker approved negotiated settlement of 940-million dollars. Of that, a little over 100-million dollars will be coming to Alaska Native tribes. Payments to individual Alaska tribes range from 8-thousand for a few tribes to 15-point-6-million dollars for the regional non-profit Kawerak.

An attorney representing several tribes, Lloyd Miller of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, and Miller in Anchorage, says the payments are expected to come through this summer. The suit was initially filed in 1990 by the Ramah Navaho. It was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the tribes’ favor in 2012.

Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

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