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April 21, 2016

Judge OKs Deal Creating $265 Million Native American Trust

A federal judge approved a discrimination-suit settlement Wednesday that will distribute more than $300 million to nonprofits serving Native American farmers and ranchers, The Washington Post reports. The deal includes the creation of a $265 million trust, the largest philanthropic organization focused on Native American agriculture.

An initial, 2010 deal in the class-action case — brought by farmers over discrimination in the awarding of federal loans — set aside $680 million in compensation, but far fewer people than expected made successful claims. A subsequent proposal called for channeling all of the remaining $380 million into a new charitable foundation, but plaintiffs and Native groups objected, calling instead for the money to be distributed among victims and existing nonprofits.

Under the new deal, Native Americans who have already won claims under the litigation will receive an additional $77 million, and $38 million will go to nonprofits chosen by plaintiffs’ attorneys. The remainder will endow a Native American-led trust that will make grants to groups providing business, technical, and other support to farmers and ranchers.