Monday, October 17, 2011

Elouise Cobell, Victorious In Fight to Have U.S. Government Account for Indian Land Royalties, Dies at 65

Elouise Cobell, the Blackfeet woman who led a 15-year legal fight to force the U.S. government to account for more than a century of mismanaged Indian land royalties, died Sunday. She was 65.

Cobell died at a Great Falls hospital of complications from cancer, spokesman Bill McAllister said.

Cobell was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in 1996 claiming the Interior Department had misspent, lost or stolen billions of dollars meant for Native American land trust account holders dating back to the 1880s.

After years of legal wrangling, the two sides in 2009 agreed to settle for $3.4 billion, the largest government class-action settlement in U.S. history. The beneficiaries are estimated to be about 500,000 people.

Asked what she wanted her legacy to be, Cobell said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press that she hoped she would inspire a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others and lift their community out of poverty.

"Maybe one of these days, they won't even think about me. They'll just keep going and say, 'This is because I did it,'" Cobell said. "I never started this case with any intentions of being a hero. I just wanted this case to give justice to people that didn't have it."
President Barack Obama released a statement that said Cobell's work provided a measure of justice to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, will give more people access to higher education and will give tribes more control over their own lands.


Anonymous said...

Native Americans across our country owe a debt of gratitude for the strenght this woman showed in her fight for justice.

Anonymous said...

Just that your tribe has kicked you out...are you still considered tribal to the U.S. government and able to be apart of the settlement?..and if the Governmnet was paying you stipends all those years before the Casino, shouldnt that help you on your claim for legitimacy?..I remember when your tribe was trying to get the Casino rights, they claimed to be so many members strong...and now all of a sudden the tribes are shrinking....your leaders should be held accountable for all the money that they got for the now "non-Indian" members all those years..

Anonymous said...

My understanding is the answer is YES to any who have a land claim. For instance, over 175 Hunter's have a land claim to the reservation.
This information is what the Pechanga Tribal Leaders were trying to cover up when they were in Washington DC for the water rights issue. They were caught in this lie.

'aamokat said...

Yes, we are party to this settlement.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark or your stupid brother John and even anyone from the leyva line, Why don't you respond to this post. We know you are viewing it, or are you to sttttuuu stttuuu stupid. You people are a big joke in Indian country, we laugh and laugh when you respond. You truly are Casino Indian's. Hiding behind the government. Remember you are just being used by them, You will NEVER BE One of them. When they are done with you will not be able to turn to anyone. History always repeats itself.