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Trust
Opinion: Indian trust a bigger swindle than Abramoff


"The prodigious tentacles of Abramoff's operation are more convoluted than the leftover entrails from a botched pig autopsy performed by an inebriated first-year vet student. Some pundits are saying that if all is uncovered it will be the biggest congressional scandal in years.

One of the tentacles yet to be uncovered may yet involve Indians, but not for the cause of gambling. Cobell vs. Norton is a decade-old lawsuit against the Department of Interior in which the plaintiffs claim that Indian interests have been swindled out of perhaps $150 billion by the Department of Interior and oil and gas interests who lease Indian trust land.

The Dawes Act, passed in the 19th century, took land given to the Indians and charged the Department of Interior with managing the land on behalf of tribes and individuals. In the law it is called a fiduciary responsibility. Turns out that perhaps the Indians haven't been getting full value from the oil and gas interests who have leased the land. Imagine that.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have attempted to get at the books of the Department of the Interior to verify the mismanagement of these leases. However, much of the accounting was destroyed. Imagine that."

Get the Story:
RICHARD BABB: Fleecing the Indians thrice (The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal 2/26)

Elouise Cobell Letter:
Dear Lawmakers (February 23, 2006)

Jim Cason Letter:
Dear Tribal Leader (January 26, 2006)

Cobell Court Fees:
Memorandum and Order (December 19, 2005)

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

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