Last updated: September 04. 2014 7:36AM - 1628 Views
By - switten@civitasmedia.com



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RED SPRINGS — American Indian farmers in Robeson County are invited to attend workshops to discuss how to handle unclaimed money from a class-action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture.


Hosted by American Indian Mothers Inc., the sessions will be held today from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a break Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


The hour-long workshops will held at the Stock UP Store at 108 S. Main St. There is a $15 charge for the workshops and pre-registration is required. Workshops are limited to 50 people.


Organizers say the sessions will be used to gather feedback on the $380 million left from the USDA Keepseagle’s Native American Farm-Ranch settlement.


“We want Native American farmers to have a voice in how this money comes back to benefit them,” said Beverly Collins Hall, executive director for American Indian Mothers Inc. “The ball is in our court now, we can dribble it or lose it.”


A $760 million settlement with the USDA was reached in 2011. The suit claimed that the USDA denied thousands of American Indian farmers and ranchers the same opportunities as white farmers who attempted to get a farm loan.


The lawsuit includes all American Indian farmers and ranchers who attempted to farm between Jan. 1, 1981, and Nov. 24, 1999, while trying to secure a loan from the USDA.


For information, call Collins-Hall at 910-843-9914 or 910-734-4185.

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