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Editorial: McCain and Dorgan should fix trust bill
Thursday, August 4, 2005

"Nine years ago, Elouise Cobell sued the Interior and Treasury Departments on behalf of more than half a million Native Americans who are the beneficiaries - if that is the right word - of individual trusts held for them by the federal government. Since that time, she has won the legal skirmishing, but has been impeded by obstruction on the part of the government. It's time she also got real justice.

Records have been lost and destroyed, and Indians who should have enjoyed the benefit of the valuable leases on their property have died. Ms. Cobell's successes in court - and repeated contempt citations against the Interior Department - have illuminated the ongoing deceit over these accounts, but they have not yet resulted in real paybacks for the defrauded Indians. In recent years, Congress has addressed the issue only as part of an effort to void any attempt at a real historical accounting.

The current leaders of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan, have better motives. In the last weeks before the Senate adjourned, they introduced legislation to amend the Indian Trust Reform Act. But as it stands, their proposal is at best a rough sketch of a bill. Its greatest merit is its honorable intentions."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Fixing an Old Injustice (The New York Times 8/4)
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Senate Testimony:
Hearing on S. 1439, Indian Trust Reform Act of 2005 (July 26, 2005)

Additional Testimony:
Sen. McCain Statement | Ernie Stensgar | Hoopa Valley Tribe | Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

S.1439 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)

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:
Much work needed on Cobell, trust reform bill (8/1)
Editorial: Settlement of trust fund case at hand (8/1)
Appeals court stays Lamberth order on notices (7/29)
DOI mum on settlement figure for Cobell v. Norton (7/27)
Cobell apologizes for comments on trust bill (7/27)
Opinion: McCain, Dorgan lowball Indians on trust (7/27)
Indian leaders to pledge support on trust reform (7/26)
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)
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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)
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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)
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DOI's Internet connection shut down for third time (03/16)
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