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Dispute settled, Cheyenne River tribe won't lose buffalo herd

RAPID CITY (AP) -- The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has settled a $1 million dispute with a rancher and will keep its herd of 600 buffalo.

Clint Amiotte in 2009 accused the tribal subsidiary Pte Hca Ka Inc. of not paying him for 308 buffalo that were butchered and processed. A federal judge in August 2010 ruled the tribe should pay Amiotte about $1 million -- about triple what he was owed for his animals -- and Amiotte was preparing to auction the tribe's buffalo herd to get his money.

Amiotte and the tribe negotiated a $583,000 settlement, and a scheduled Jan. 23 auction has been canceled, the media reported.

Amiotte, who expressed relief that he doesn't have to resort to auctioning the tribe's buffalo, said he often does business the old fashioned way.

"I'm a cattleman. I'm a buffalo-man," he said. "That's the way it goes. You do it on a handshake."

Margaret Bad Warrior, attorney for Pte Hca Ka, said the organization decided the lawsuit had dragged on long enough.

"I don't think anyone's really happy with the outcome, but we're happy that it's resolved," she said.