Obama administration to pay up to $680 million to mistreated American Indian farmers

By on Oct 20, 2010 in World Comments

The Obama administration on Tuesday was reported to have agreed to pay up to $680 million to mistreated American Indian farmers.

According to a statement from White House, the US government will provide $680 million will compensate Native American farmers who filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture for alleged discrimination.

The 11-year old lawsuit was said to be brought about by the denial of USDA to provide the white farmers a low-interest rate loans from 1981 to 2007.

The agreement, in which US President Barack Obama called as ‘an important step forward in remedying USDA‘s unfortunate civil rights history’, will allow eligible farmers and ranchers to receive up to $250,000 each, after showing that USDA discrimination caused them economic losses, reports said.

Meanwhile, farmers who can provide substantial evidence of discrimination to an impartial adjudicator were said to be receiving $50,000 each.

However, the agreement mentioned that ‘actual monetary awards are subject to reduction based on the amount of available funding and the number of meritorious claims’.

Nevertheless, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was quoted as saying that ‘today’s settlement can never undo wrongs that Native Americans may have experienced in past decades, but combined with the actions we at USDA are taking to address such wrongs, the settlement will provide some measure of relief to those alleging discrimination’.

The agreed settlement will also include a $80 million debt relief, as well as other assistance for Native American farmers, reports said.

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