Government settles lawsuit with Native American farmers





Washington (CNN) -- The government will provide $680 million in compensation to settle a class-action lawsuit by Native American farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a proposed agreement announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, which requires federal court approval, Native Americans can file claims for discrimination involving farm loans that occurred in the period from 1981-1999, said statements by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder.

"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," Vilsack said in his statement.

The $680 million will compensate eligible members of the class-action suits with valid claims, the statements said. The agreement has two payment tracks -- one provides $50,000 to those who provide substantial evidence of discrimination to an impartial adjudicator, and the other pays up to $250,000 to those who can show economic losses caused by discrimination....

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