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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on Settlement Agreement in the Native American Farmers Lawsuit Against USDA

Today, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in the Keepseagle class action lawsuit.  This suit was originally filed in 1999 by Native American farmers alleging discrimination in access to and participation in USDA’s farm loan programs.  With today’s agreement, we take an important step forward in remedying USDA’s unfortunate civil rights history.
I applaud Secretary Vilsack and Attorney General Holder for their hard work to reach this settlement – a settlement that helps strengthen the nation to nation relationship and underscores the federal government’s commitment to treat all citizens fairly.  In light of that commitment, Congress must also act to implement the historic settlements of the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources.  My Administration also continues to work towards a resolution of the claims made by women and Hispanic farmers against the USDA.