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Trust
Jodi Rave: Garcia calls for settlement of Cobell


STATE OF INDIAN NATIONS

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"The president of the National Congress of American Indians declared Thursday that a top priority for tribal leaders is to end a nearly decade-old lawsuit that pits Native landowners against the federal government.

“The fact that the Cobell litigation remains unsettled impedes our progress with the federal government on nearly all other issues,” NCAI president Joe Garcia said during the annual State of the Indian Nations address. “The solution is straightforward: Let's settle Cobell fairly and quickly and then let's move ahead. We want Congress to deal with us in good faith and then allow us all to put it behind us.”

Elouise Cobell of Browning, the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the Interior Department, as well as tribal leaders, have been pushing for a settlement on the case - which has been in court since 1996.

The suit affects a half-million Native landowners whose income from natural resources has been mismanaged by the federal government for more than a century. A settlement is expected to cost the government more than $10 billion; that estimate is down from earlier projections of $170 billion.

“This litigation is diverting money from other needs Š that makes it hard for us to move on to other issues,” said Garcia, who delivered his address from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Garcia, who is governor of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico, was recently elected to lead NCAI, the country's oldest and largest Native advocacy organization."

Get the Story:
'Let's settle Cobell,' Native leader says (The Missoulian 2/3)

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

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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