Elouise Cobell: Obama must make trust a top priority
"The Government Accountability Office has warned the Obama administration that trust reform remains one of the most serious problems facing the new interior secretary. The interior, the GAO said, “is still in the process of implementing key trust fund reforms, including preparation of a timetable for completing remaining activities. ...”

In other words, even the planning remains for trust reform remains incomplete after decades of studies and reports.

Unless the interior successfully addresses its trust duties, another generation of Indians will suffer. Interior and Congress have spent billions of dollars on trust-related activities including developing electronic computer systems and a multi-million dollar record center in Kansas, but when it comes to claiming success and achievement, there is no mention by the interior of performance of its trust responsibilities.

This silence – this failure – must be dealt with by the new administration.

It must become a major agenda item for the new Obama administration and Ken Salazar, the new secretary. The silence of the Bush Interior Department must be replaced by a major high priority effort in the Obama administration to achieve success in dealing with the Indian trusts and fulfilling Obama’s commitment to carrying out the United States’ obligation to the Indian people including its hundreds of thousands trust beneficiaries.

We shall be watching and listening."

Get the Story:
Elouise Cobell: The loud sound of silence (Indian Country Today 1/9)

Related Stories:
Elouise Cobell: Indians still the invisible Americans (12/19)
Cobell seeks speedy appeal in long-running case (12/10)
Appeal granted for Cobell historical accounting (11/21)
Voice for the Voiceless: Cobell lawsuit a warning (11/13)
Opinion: Scoundrels and scandals at Interior (10/09)
Jodi Rave: Corruption 'nothing new' at Interior (09/22)
Government appeals decision in Cobell case (9/19)
Cobell: Judge gives Interior a pass on trust duties (9/16)
Appeal stretches Cobell lawsuit into another year (9/16)