Editorial: $58B trust payout more than fair
"A conclusion to Cobell v. Kempthorne is in sight. The accountability of the U.S. government has been of chief concern to hundreds of thousands of defrauded Indian people, some of whom died poor waiting for this day.

The plaintiffs, represented for a dozen years by the tenacious Elouise Cobell of the Blackfeet Nation, seek acknowledgement by the federal government that it grossly neglected its fiduciary duty to Native landowners over the last century. They want a complete accounting of all Individual Indian Money accounts. Their $58 billion claim against the United States represents what they say the government earned from failing to distribute drilling, grazing and mining royalties to IIM account holders. The figure is reasonable, Cobell said, and ''represents the minimum harm that Indians have suffered under our broken trust system.''

Considering that generations of non-Indians literally extracted immense wealth from the earth beneath the feet of Indian people and became powerful economic players in America, the plaintiffs' claim is more than fair. $58 billion is conservative, even generous when one considers how the West was really won - inhumanely, via theft and politics.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of the Interior have used more than $300 million of taxpayer dollars and the resources of the Justice Department to defend themselves. In March of last year, the government offered a $7 billion partial settlement described as an investment in Indian country. The letter by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne also demands Congress relieve the government's liability for any future IIM claims."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Call in the debt (Indian Country Today 6/13)

Another Story:
Final judgment phase begins in Cobell trial (Indian Country Today 6/13)

Trial Transcripts:
June 9 AM | June 9 PM | June 10 AM | June 10 PM | June 11 | June 12 AM

Related Stories:
Cobell plaintiffs rest case in trust fund trial (6/12)
Cobell plaintiffs focus on $58B claim at trial (6/11)
Trial seeks to resolve Indian trust fund lawsuit (6/11)
Judge opens landmark trial in Cobell trust fund case (6/10)
Jodi Rave: Cobell happy with opening day of trial (6/10)
Jodi Rave: Cobell trial begins in Washington DC (6/9)
Cobell trust fund case set for final trial (6/3)
After six-plus years, BIA website finally online (05/27)
BIA to be fully online in a couple of months (5/21)
Interior heads back online after disconnect (5/15)
Judge issues pre-trial order in Cobell trust case (5/13)
Bush administration responds to Cobell $58B claim (04/11)
'Rough justice' seen in resolving Cobell case (4/7)
House panel threatens Cobell accounting cut (4/4)
Letter: A small spark of justice in Cobell case (3/31)
Cobell plaintiffs say $58B owed for Indian trust (3/21)
Cobell case set for resolution in court (3/6)
Judge sets June 9 trial to resolve Cobell case (3/5)
Judge to hold Cobell hearing this Wednesday (3/3)
Next hearing in Cobell case set for March 5 (02/21)
Resolution appears near in Cobell trust case (2/19)
Editorial: Settle 'botched' Indian trust fund (02/06)
Editorial: Settle the Indian trust fund lawsuit (2/4)
Kempthorne reiterates $7B Indian trust offer (2/1)
Editorial: A remedy for 'neglect' of Indian trust (2/1)
Cobell: 'Great day in Indian Country' (1/31)
Judge: Cobell historical accounting 'impossible' (1/30)
Cobell statement on historical accounting decision (1/30)
Jim Cason: Historical accounting facts (01/18)

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