The federal government fought the Indian account holders for years in a case that went through three judges and numerous appeals. The Obama administration brokered a settlement that was approved by Congress in late 2010 and by a federal judge in August 2011.
Payments have been delayed by four account holders who challenged the settlement. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge last month, paving the way for the payments to begin.
Of the $3.4 billion settlement, more than $1.4 billion will be used to make payments to Indians who have or had trust accounts within certain date ranges. For many, the payment will be a flat $1,000, while others will get additional amounts based on how much revenue was received in their accounts.
The settlement includes another $1.9 billion to buy parcels of land that have been divided up numerous times over generations and don't generate enough income to justify the management costs.