From the L.A. Times:

A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $3.4 billion settlement for Native Americans who say the government mismanaged their land royalties, paving the way to begin a search for hundreds of thousands of potential beneficiaries.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan of Washington, D.C., made his decision Tuesday and ordered the formal beneficiary notification period to begin in 30 days, or Jan. 20.

Congress approved the class-action settlement earlier this month after nearly 15 years of litigation over the royalties from property owned by Indians and held in trust by the government.

The Department of Interior leases the land to others for farming or resource development and is supposed to pay the money generated by the land into Individual Indian Money trust accounts.

Judge gives preliminary approval to $3.4B Indian settlement; notifications to begin next month