American Indians filed lawsuit for portion of settlement money
American Indian tribes sued tobacco manufacturers in federal court, saying they were improperly excluded from the industry's $206 billion settlement with 46 U.S. states, according to lawyers for the tribes.
The suit seeking class-action status was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and alleges the companies violated the tribes' due process and civil rights because the settlement took into account Indian populations without directing that funds be awarded to tribes. According to the suit, Indians were counted in census data used to determine how the money would be distributed but were not allotted their own share of the money. The suit claims that is a violation of Indian sovereignty and amounts to racial discrimination. According to the suit, Indians traditionally have used tobacco for ceremonial and medicinal purposes only. But during World War II, Indian soldiers were introduced to cigarettes and tobacco companies began targeting that population, the suit charges.