- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans across the nation have started receiving the final cash payments this week from one of the largest government settlements in U.S. history.

Checks ranging from $869 to nearly $10 million were sent beginning Monday to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement.

The settlement is from a class-action lawsuit filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell of Browning. Cobell sued after finding the government squandered billions of dollars in royalties for land it held in trust for individual Indians that was leased for development, exploration or agriculture

Cobell died of cancer in 2011, after more than 15 years of doggedly pursuing the lawsuit, rallying Native Americans and lobbying members of Congress for its approval

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