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A federal judge has approved the $3.4 billion Cobell v. Salazar settlement, sparking a nationwide search for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans whose names have been lost by the government. Two weeks after President Obama signed the settlement, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan granted it preliminary approval this week. The settlement of the 15-year-old suit brought by lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell provides compensation to nearly 600,000 Natives for the government's mismanagement of their trust fund assets.
 
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