US to Pay Native American Farmers $680M in Farm Loan Discrimination Case
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an agreement to provide $680 million in compensation and another $80 million in debt relief to settle a class-action suit by Native American Farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“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 lawsuit alleged discrimination against Native Americans regarding access to the Agriculture Department’s farm loan programs, CNN reported. Name plaintiffs George and Marilyn Keepseagle said they were unfairly denied loans and had to sell off portions of their farm as a result.
The agreement has two payment tracks, CNN reported. One provides $50,000 to those who can show substantial evidence of discrimination, and the other provides up to $225,000 to those who can show resulting economic losses.
The agreement still awaits formal approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.