The Crow Tribe received $74 million on Wednesday as part of the Crow Water Settlement Act of 2010.
Crow tribal officials met with representatives of the Bureau of Reclamation's Great Plains region to sign the contract in a ceremony at the James F. Battin Federal Courthouse in Billings.
The money will be used to rehabilitate the Crow Reservation's irrigation system. Construction will begin this fall.
Over the next 10 years, the tribe will receive more than $131 million for the irrigation project. The $460 million Water Settlement Act will also include planning, design and construction of an updated municipal, rural and industrial water system.
The act also gives the tribe exclusive rights to develop hydropower at the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam.
"With the execution of the Crow Irrigation project contract today, we will begin to create jobs on the reservation this fall that will help put our people to work and get the Crow irrigation project into good repair for the first time in its history," Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle said.
That's particularly important with the recent layoffs of 200 people who were on on the tribal payroll.