Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Mary Aurelia Johns explains reasons for dropping Cobell appeal





Three beneficiaries dropped their appeal of the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement because they didn't want to hurt Indian Country, one of them said.

Mary Aurelia Johns, Carol Eve Good Bear and Charles Colombe agreed to withdraw their petition on Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed it the same day, according to Docket No. 12-355.

“We pulled our case out of the Supreme Court,” Johns, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, told Indian Country Today. “This was based on the fact that it was too big of a gamble with this court and how far it could reach to make changes in Indian law and hurt Indian country. None of us were willing to go down in history as the ones who caused this.”

Johns believed the appeal had merit but said the Supreme Court was unlikely to view the case in the same way. Another appeal, filed by Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate member Kimberly Craven, was dismissed late last month.

“This has been a long struggle, and I still believe the Cobell agreement was not in the best interest for Indian country,” Johns told ICT. But she said if she pursued the appeal, "we would have ultimately lost for our people."

The Obama administration said it will work to get payments to Indian beneficiaries by the end of the year.

Get the Story:
Indians Pull Appeal to Cobell Settlement; Government Says Payments By Year’s End (Indian Country Today 11/8)

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