Court Hears Int. Dept. in American Indian Lawsuit

Laramie, WY – The Interior Department says it's doing all it can to account for billions of dollars, owed to American Indian landholders.

That's what a department official told a federal court today in Washington, DC, in legal arguments over the Indians' 11-year-old lawsuit against the government.

The suit claims the government has mismanaged more than 100 billion dollaras in oil, gas, timber and other royalties, held in trust from their lands dating back to 1887.

At a hearing in U.S. District Court, an Interior official said the department has spent more than 127 million dollars on historical accounting of the trust lands since 2003. The agency says it is not delaying or trying to limit government liability.

Lawyers for the Indians argued the department is not properly accounting for the money owed to thousands of trustees.