WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The Navajo Nation and the U.S. government have agreed to a $554 million settlement of claims that tribal resources were mismanaged.
Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation, said town hall meetings will be held on the country's largest Native American territory to decide how the money should be used.
"The trust litigation has been a protracted battle, and in the end, it was a victory for tribal sovereignty," Shelly said Wednesday. "The Navajo Nation has worked tirelessly for many years to bring this issue to a close."
The agreement is to be signed Friday in Window Rock, Ariz., the Navajo capital.
The semi-autonomous Navajo Nation, the largest Native American territory in the United States, stretches across 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. More than 300,000 people live there.
The Navajo Nation and other tribes have sued the federal government, charging decades of mismanagement of land leased for oil and gas development, grazing and other uses. The Obama administration has paid more than $1 billion to settle those claims.
"This historic agreement resolves a long-standing dispute between the United States and the Navajo Nation, including some claims that have been sources of tension for generations," Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday. "It will provide important resources to the Navajo Nation. And it fairly and honorably resolves a legal conflict over the accounting and management of tribal resources."