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Lummi Tribe, Washington

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The city of Blaine will pay the nation $1.25 million for recovering and reburying graves city construction crews dug up two years ago. In exchange, the tribe will drop a $40 million lawsuit. "This is a great moment," Lummi Chairman Willie Jones said. "This is a starting point, and I want to see it flourish." More than 100 Lummi graves were dug up in August 1999 when Blaine crews excavated land to expand the city's sewage treatment plant. The nation and Blaine promised to work together to find funding for a new plant, The Bellingham Herald reported. Once that happens, the nation can use the property for a cultural center. The money will be paid by the city's insurer but tribal officials say it will only cover a fraction of expected costs. The rest will come from grants and other sources. The Lummi sifted piles of dirt and dandelions for artifacts and bones in spurts as allowed. The agreement gave them blanket permission to work on the city property. "It's hard when you find pieces of your ancestors spilled all over the place," said Patrick George, who searched for remains at one of the two other sites where fill was taken. "It's spiritually very hard work."