U.S. Native Americans file tobacco lawsuit
Thirty-four U.S. Native American tribes on Wednesday filed suit seeking millions of dollars from tobacco companies, saying their people have suffered more from smoking than other ethnic groups.
Attorneys and leaders of seven of the litigating tribes, or nations, told a news conference they need the money to fund anti-tobacco education efforts and pay for the treatment of smoking-related illnesses among Native Americans. "Indian people have been injured and continue to be injured,'' said Albert Hale, an attorney and former president of the Navaho Nation. "We allege that through misrepresentation, fraud, and conspiracy and violation of fair trade practices, they have promoted a product on Indian people across this country,'' Hale said. The lawsuit, filed in New Mexico district court in Santa Fe, says lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Native Americans.