Washington: The US administration will pay $554 million to the native Navajo Indian Nation to put an end to decades of lawsuits for alleged misuse of their lands and resources, the highest amount ever given by the US government in a litigation with an Indian tribe.
"This landmark resolution ends protracted and burdensome litigation. It will provide important resources to the Navajo Nation, and it fairly and honourably resolves a legal conflict," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Wednesday.
The Navajos, the largest indigenous community of the US with more than 300,000 members, will receive some $168 million more than ever paid by the government in any other such agreement.
The historic move will be officially announced Friday in Window Rock, Arizona. The territory of the Navajo Nation spreads between northwest New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southeast Utah.
The US government monitors five million hectares of the Navajo land, part of which is loaned for the extraction of oil and coal, the timber industry, agriculture, housing and other purposes under a system that dates back to the 19th century.
In some cases, the litigation between the Navajos and the government goes back up to 50 years, based on allegations that the federal government does not invest the resources of the Indians for the best benefit of their communities.