Arts & Entertainment | Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Review: Elouise Cobell and her battle for justice in '100 Years'






Official Trailer: 100 Years

Correction: Due to a typographical error, the amount of the Cobell settlement was wrongly stated in the first version of the post. The case was settled for $3.4 billion, not $3.8 billion.

Another favorable review for 100 Years, a documentary about the late Elouise Cobell and her landmark Indian trust fund lawsuit that resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement with the Obama administration:
Most Americans today have a rudimentary understanding of how the American government has mistreated Native American peoples — or Indians, the misnomer that has become commonly used for the expansive group — for centuries. “100 Years” tells the story of what many Americans still do not know: that these citizens are still heinously mistreated today.

The first half of the documentary sets the scene. Viewers learn the stories of people like Mad Dog Kennerly and Cora Bunnie, American Indians with vast oil reserves on their land who received pennies for the millions of what was extracted from their lands. These individuals, who should be some of the richest in America, were living in abject poverty with little means to rectify their situation.

That is, until Blackfeet warrior Elouise Cobell started asking questions about the mismanaged funds as the treasurer of her tribe. The rest of the film proceeds to follow Cobell and her team through the latter half of her 30-year fight to secure justice for her people against the fraud and corruption of one of the largest governments in the world. The sheer sacrifice of this Montana woman is remarkable, as she left her home state to lobby in Washington D.C., even giving up her leadership position in Montana’s Elvis Presley fan club.

What’s interesting about the film is the way in which politics played into Cobell’s success. We see the fruits of her efforts evolve as we pass through three presidential administrations. It became evident that the mismanaged trust was no oversight; in one instance a Republican federal judge, Royce C. Lamberth, was removed by the Bush administration for his affirmative opinion that the United States government had mismanaged Indian funds.

Read More on the Story:
Review by Natalie Whalen: ‘100 Years’ Still Not Long Enough (Washington Square News 10/11)

Related Stories:
Review: 'Inspiring' documentary about Elouise Cobell's battle (09/26)
Film about Elouise Cobell's long 'fight for justice' set for fall release (09/06)