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Trust
Ross Swimmer: Cobell suit not about mismanagement


"In a recent editorial in your newspaper, Cobell v. Norton litigation spokesman Bill McAllister says that reporters are not asking the Department of the Interior enough questions. I agree. There are many misconceptions about the litigation, the current state of the Indian Trust, our accounting activities, and our record keeping that need clarification, and I welcome questions.

Any good reporter will find that history has not been kind to the American Indian, and that there have been historical problems with the management of the Indian Trust. However, there is a widespread belief that the long running Cobell v. Norton litigation is about mismanagement and theft of Indian trust funds. This is not so. The case was filed to compel Interior to do an accounting of the funds that have been deposited to, and disbursed from, the trust, and to provide that accounting to each trust beneficiary.

We take the subject of trust management very seriously at Interior. In the past, department officials have stipulated to a number of trust management problems. For some years Interior officials and tribal leaders have been hard at work improving and modernizing the trust for the benefit of all trust account holders. Today business is different in Indian Country. It is detrimental to all Indian Trust account holders to propagate the notion, as plaintiffs and others do, that nothing has changed in ten years."

Get the Story:
Special Trustee responds to Cobell spokesman (The Native American Times 9/13)

Native America Calling Archive:
Indian Trust: Cobell V. Norton Update (August 29, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Office of Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm

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