President Obama's to-do list shrank this week with the announcement of a $492 million settlement with 17 Indian tribes, ending long-standing disputes that in some cases went back 100 years or more. Those affected by the latest settlement include tribes in Arizona, Oregon, and Minnesota that accused the Interior Department of mismanaging funds and trust land leased for uses including mining and timber harvesting, reports the Washington Post, which notes that some tribal leaders consider Obama the best president they have ever dealt with. The White House settled with another 41 tribes for $1 billion in 2012.
The government said it would hold "the assets in trusts benevolently, for the protection of Indian lands and money," a Native American Rights Fund attorney who handled 13 of the latest settlements tells NPR. "The flip side of that is that in exchange, the government was supposed to be a good trustee, and it wasn't. Land was not managed well. Money and resources were not managed well." USA Today reports that Obama held his final White House Tribal Nations Conference Monday, in which tribal leaders came to Washington for high-level talks. Speakers praised Obama and gave him a traditional hat and blanket as Dakota Access pipeline protesters gathered outside. (Read more Native Americans stories.)