The Navajo Nation is poised to receive $554 million from the federal government over allegations of mismanagement of tribal resources in the largest settlement of its kind for an American Indian tribe, according to an Associated Press report.
Much of the land on the sprawling reservation has been leased for uses such as farming, grazing, oil and gas development, mining and housing.
The leases once were largely overseen by the U.S. government, which mismanaged the revenue and failed to properly invest and account for it, according to the tribe.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Window Rock, Arizona, the Navajo Nation capital, to formalize the deal Friday.
She released a statement Thursday saying the agreement strengthens ties between the Navajo and U.S. governments and helps empower the tribe’s communities.
Navajo officials hailed the settlement as a positive end to a long ordeal. President Ben Shelly, in a statement, called it “a victory for tribal sovereignty.”
The tribe agreed to settle the case months ago but has been awaiting approval from federal agencies before the deal could be finalized. The Navajo Nation originally sought $900 million when the lawsuit was filed in 2006.
The 27,000-square-mile reservation is larger than any American Indian land base, and covers sections of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Almost two-thirds of the 300,000 Navajos live on the reservation that has some of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest and is rich in natural resources.