SALT LAKE CITY — Two Ute Indian tribes are among 41 tribes nationwide to reach a $1 billion settlement with the federal government in lawsuit alleging mismanagement of tribal trust funds.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Ute Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation will share in the proceeds from the agreement reached after a 22-month negotiation.
The lawsuit alleged the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury mismanaged monetary assets and natural resources the government held in trust for the benefit of the tribes.
The settlements resolve claims dating back more than 100 years. Under the agreements, protracted litigation will end regarding the accounting and management of the tribes' trust accounts, trust lands and other natural resources.
Interior manages about 56 million acres of trust lands for federally recognized tribes and more than 100,000 leases on those lands for uses including housing, timber harvesting, farming, and oil and gas extraction. It also manages about 2,500 tribal trust accounts for 250 tribes.