your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Senate set for hearing on Cobell, trust reform
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Indianz.Com Listening Lounge, Senate Indian Affairs Committee oversight hearing on legislation to resolve Cobell v. Norton, July 26, 2005.
Note: All files in MP3 format.
Intro - 16:03 - 2.75MB
Panel I - 14:13 - 2.44MB | Q&A - 14:28 - 2.48MB
Panel II - 53:41 - 9.21MB | Q&A - 29:58 - 5.14MB
Witness List
A slate of key leaders, including Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the billion-dollar Indian trust fund lawsuit, will appear before a Senate committee today and pledge their support for an improved trust reform bill.

The unity between the Cobell plaintiffs, tribal leaders and major Indian organizations threatened to break apart last week after the introduction of the bill. Cobell and Tex Hall, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, had expressed disappointment with several provisions in legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota).

The criticism spurred a lengthy conference call Friday afternoon in which some participants criticized the Cobell litigation team for comments Cobell made to Native reporter Jodi Rave Lee. "I want to say some strong things like: This is a disaster. Let's kill it," Cobell was quoted as saying. "But it will come back to haunt us."

The story, which only appeared in small number of regional media outlets, also prompted Senate staff to send word to the Cobell team of McCain's apparent dissatisfaction, according to sources familiar with the conversation. One person said the move was aimed at intimidating the plaintiffs into backtracking.

But Cobell and other key witnesses today will remain firm in their commitment to the principles they developed during four months of rigorous work in Indian Country. Cobell and Hall, in public statements and in testimony submitted to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, say they hope to work with McCain and Dorgan to improve the bill.

"I deeply appreciate the effort that the two Senators have put into this and now I look forward to working with them and their staff on making the changes to the bill so that it more accurately reflects the views of Indian tribes as set forth in the 50 principles," Hall said last week.

The principles were developed in response to a challenge McCain, the chairman of the committee, issued earlier this year to give trust reform "one good shot" for the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006. "If it looks like we're not getting anywhere," he said at a hearing in March, "then I will leave that task to future Congresses and the courts."

Indian leaders took McCain's words seriously and developed consensus on a wide range of issues, from settlement to fractionation. But when the bill was introduced on Wednesday, July 20, there were few provisions they recognized. Dorgan, the vice chairman of the committee, acknowledged it was not "perfect."

Despite the disappointment, some provisions in the bill are being welcomed in Indian Country. They include the elimination of the Office of Special Trustee and the creation of an Under Secretary for Indian Affairs, two ideas previously embraced by the joint tribal-federal task force on trust reform.

Also welcomed is the provision to ensure any settlement for the Cobell v. Norton case comes from the Claims Judgment Fund and not federal appropriations for Indian programs. The bill also recognizes that a settlement could be in the billions although no specific amount is specified and McCain has questioned the $27.5 billion proposal laid out in the principles.

Other issues to be addressed today include the reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its dwindling budget. Tribal leaders have complained that the Bush administration is financing trust reform by taking money from education, social services and other reservation programs.

Also testifying today will be Jim Cason, the associate deputy secretary at the Interior Department. He has said a settlement of Cobell should run in the "very low millions" and not billions.

"We haven't found any systemic errors or faults in the system," Cason said during a July 6 appearance on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. "We have found a few errors. They tend to be small. ... They're netting out pretty close to zero."

The hearing starts at 10am and will be broadcast on the Internet. A video link can be accessed at

Senate Testimony:
PDF: Elouise Cobell Testimony (July 26, 2005)

Senate Documents:
John McCain Statement | Byron Dorgan Statement | Full Text of Bill as Introduced | S.1439

Relevant Documents:
Trust Reform and Cobell Settlement Workgroup Principles for Legislation (June 2005)

Related Story:
Federal official: Native trust fund accounts vulnerable (The Lincoln Journal Star 7/21)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
National Congress of American Indians -
Intertribal Trust Fund Monitoring Association -

Related Stories:
Cobell calls trust reform bill a win for Interior (7/22)
McCain and Dorgan introduce trust reform legislation (7/22)
Opinion: Keep open mind on Cobell settlement (7/19)
McCain plans hearing on Cobell settlement, reform (7/14)
Judge blasts Interior on handling of trust (7/13)
Elouise Cobell: Principles put trust back into trust fund (07/07)
Cobell and Cason to appear on C-SPAN program (7/6)
Cobell calls for settlement of trust fund lawsuit (7/5)
Editorial: Resolution of trust fund debacle needed (7/5)
Editorial: Abramoff scandal can't compare to trust (6/30)
Opinion: Downfall of Indians traced to Army, BIA (6/28)
Pombo supports settlement of Cobell trust fund case (6/27)
Harjo: Tribes lobby to fleece their own people (6/24)
Editorial: Congress should settle trust fund (6/24)
Editorial: Trust fund a 'national embarassment' (6/22)
Indian Country united on trust reform solutions (6/21)
Trust workgroup to outline Cobell settlement goals (6/17)
Echohawk optimistic on settlement of Cobell case (06/03)
Final trust reform meeting held in North Dakota (6/3)
UTTC hosts meeting on trust reform legislation (6/1)
House panel acts to restore Bush budget cuts (05/05)
NCAI and ITMA hold second trust reform meeting (05/04)
Bush administration won't give up fight on Cobell (03/18)
McCain weighs GAO probe of Indian trust debacle (03/10)
McCain lays out Indian agenda for 109th Congress (3/7)
Norton won't testify on trust fund retaliation (2/28)
Bush official won't accept claims of trust mismanagement (02/17)
Appeals court won't hold back Lamberth on trust reform (12/13)
Appeals court supports Lamberth's authority on IT (12/06)
Lamberth critical of Norton's 'bad faith' on trust fund (10/25)
Interior denies attempt to halt trust fund payments (10/05)
Bush administration challenges trust fund ruling (09/16)
Appeals court takes on Cobell trust fund case (9/15)
Lamberth exchanges harsh words with Cobell critic (08/02)
Bush administration calls for end to Cobell case (04/09)
Cobell trust fund suit mediators announced (4/6)
DOI's Internet connection shut down for third time (03/16)
Lamberth defends special master against attack (03/16)
Anderson praises Cobell suit in NCAI speech (2/25)
Tribes still frustrated on trust reform (11/20)
Bush officials blasted by tribal leaders (11/19)
Cobell plaintiffs disputing trust fund rider (11/17)
Daschle criticizes 'shameful' rider in DOI budget bill (11/04)
Norton welcomes time-out in Cobell trust fund case (11/4)
Bush official balks at large settlement for Cobell (7/10)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal member speaks out against fracking (11/27)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud mothers address meth issues (11/27)
Tim Giago: Walk a mile in the moccasins of Native Americans (11/27)
Vince Two Eagles: Focus on being thankful this holiday season (11/27)
Native Sun News: Keystone fighters celebrate permit's defeat (11/27)
Kevin Leecy: Tribes remain a vital segment of our community (11/27)
Steven Newcomb: Even media treats our nations as 'nothing' (11/27)
Ray Cook: Thanksgiving flies in the face of original Americans (11/27)
Terese Mailhot: Racism prevails in American popular culture (11/27)
Ilya Somin: Persistent 'myth' justified taking of Indian lands (11/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community sued for same-sex marriage ban (11/27)
Cahuilla Band celebrates new travel center at gaming facility (11/27)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.