That financial compensation was for gas, oil, grazing and timber royalties that U.S. Department of Interior officials denied them over the years.
Department records show that since 1887, money that should have gone to Native Americans went elsewhere. For the last 14 years, work on a settlement has been going on in Washington. Agreement has finally been reached, but it must be approved by Congress.
Unfortunately, Congress will not approve it this year.
For the same reason black farmers are not getting compensated for enduring discriminatory practices of the government — which this page deplored earlier this week — Native Americans will not be compensated this year, either.
Republicans want budget cuts to offset spending. Democrats would agree if the cuts came from GOP special interests. Result: deadlock and nothing for those who deserve it.
If there is any minority in this nation that can justly claim it has been treated unfairly by the federal government, it is Native Americans. Despite all the attention paid to Indian casinos in Alabama and the profits some tribes are raking in, the fact remains that historically the United States has treated these natives shabbily, and even today many of them live in poverty and isolation.
What makes this situation even worse is that the condition in which so many Native Americans find themselves is a direct consequence of the way the federal government and its agencies have treated them.
In one way or another, most Americans have profited from what has come from Indian land — cheaper oil, cheaper gas, cheaper beef, a robust economy. It is about time that politicians in both parties recognize this and do something about it.