Cobell: Historical accounting far from accurate

"Something dramatic and important has happened in the class action lawsuit I filed 11 years ago over the government's admitted mismanagement of the Indian Trust.

It should trouble everyone in Indian country because it signals a 180-degree turn in the way the Interior Department plans its long-promised accounting.

Gone are the government's initial, frank admissions of bungling the trust. In their place are new and troubling claims that the trust was actually well-managed. What losses the government says it can find are relatively small, perhaps several million dollars, since the trust was imposed in 1887.

Only the most unsuspecting rube could listen to such an about-face without skepticism. Thankfully, in Washington and in Indian country, there are not many left. And, for the few that remain, they need only examine the government's bountiful record of lies, misrepresentations, fraud, thievery and outright villainy in all matters involving Indian people. The evidence our lawyers presented to U.S. District Judge James Robertson in October shows that the problems continue. Indians have been robbed of billions - not millions - of dollars; and the malfeasance continues today as Interior contractors get hundreds of millions of dollars to do little more than perpetuate a myth.

Despite the payment of a king's ransom in taxpayer dollars to the largest accounting firms in the nation, not a single one will provide any assurance that any trust account balance is fairly or accurately stated. One may (properly) inquire how a firm engaged in the practice of rendering opinions and assurance can be paid hundreds of millions of dollars to not render an opinion and not provide the Indian beneficiaries any assurance about the historical management of their trust assets. Everyone else will recognize the government's artless weaving of another dishonest myth.

The sad truth is that more than a billion trust records have been systemically destroyed. Records over several generations across all Indian country have been destroyed. And the evidence indicates that the destruction of trust records continues.

Get the Story:
Elouise Cobell: Accounting fiasco result of government myth-weaving (Indian Country Today 12/14)

Final Briefs:
Cobell Brief: Conclusions of Law | Cobell Brief: Findings of Fact DOJ Brief: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Trial Transcripts:
Day 1 AM | Day 1 PM | Day 2 AM | Day 2 PM | Day 3 AM | Day 3 PM | Day 4 AM | Day 4 PM | Day 5 AM | Day 5 PM | Day 6 AM | Day 6 PM | Day 7 AM | Day 7 PM | Day 8 AM | Day 8 PM | Day 9 AM | Day 9 PM | Day 10 AM | Day 10 PM

Trial Order:
Cobell v. Kempthorne (April 20,2007)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -

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