S.E. Ruckman: Indian Country wants to see Cobell payouts

"Far away from the halls of Washington, D.C., the talk swirls. It bubbles like crude oil seeping up out of the soil. In nearly every single gathering of Indian folks I have attended in the past year, the dish on the settlement of the $3.4 million Cobell case abounds. It is a topic that needs no introduction; it is simply referred to as “Cobell” (even as the lead plaintiff watches from her heavenly perch).

Yep, the Cobell chatter is vehement and forceful, with all the good components of a lively argument. I went to a meeting of small American Indian businesses recently and breathed the word Cobell in passing. That’s all it took. I was amazed; this topic has more spark than a season finale of American Idol.

Folks, the regular Indians in their respective jurisdictions, have an opinion about this settlement. This may be the reason why we are sitting on needles with the latest appeal brought by a member of the 12, 925-member Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe. Kimberly Craven maintains that the settlement is slanted and how it came to bear is disputable. That’s as nicely as I can say it, for right now. Courage comes in all forms and all envelopes."

Get the Story:
S.E. RUCKMAN: The chatter on Cobell (The Native American Times 9/18)

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