Skip navigation
Timeline / Renewing Native Ways / 1999: Tribes seek share in tobacco settlement

1999: Tribes seek share in tobacco settlement

American Indian tribes file a $1 billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry, claiming they were unfairly excluded from a large settlement in which the tobacco industry promised to pay $40 billion over 25 years to settle four state lawsuits and another $206 billion in a broader deal with the other 46 states. The tribes argue that Indians were counted in census data to determine the financial distribution but were not allotted a share of the money, in violation of Indian sovereignty.

“Once again, we have been left out of the process,” said Wilfred Louie, vice chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Colville in Washington State. “But we are burying our people daily because of this.”

Native Rights
Arctic, California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest, Subarctic

Fidel Moreno, president of the Native American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico, holds three cigarettes as he talks about the hazards of smoking during a news conference in Oakland, California, 1999

Courtesy Associated Press