Reparations have been issued to Native Americans in the form of “belated payments for unjustly seized land.” President Harry S. Truman signed a bill providing for the establishment in 1946 of the Indian Claims Commission.
The claims commission was designed to hear historic grievances and compensate tribes for lost territories. It commissioned extensive historical research and ended up awarding about $1.3 billion to 176 tribes and bands. The money was largely given to groups, which then distributed the money among their members. For some tribes whose members didn’t live on a reservation, the money was distributed per capita, according to historians Michael Lieder and Jake Page. For those who did live on reservations, the money was often earmarked for tribal projects, History.com reported.
The funds averaged about $1,000 per person of Native American ancestry. Most of the funds were put in trust accounts held by the U.S. government, which was accused of mismanaging the trust.
In 2009, a formal apology to Native Americans finally came. The U.S. apologized for what it characterized as the “many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States,” History.com reported.
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