Newspaper: Elouise Cobell took courageous stand for America

The late Elouise Cobell meets President Barack Obama at the White House. December 8, 2010. Official Photo by Pete Souza

The Great Falls Tribune selects Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, as one of five Montanans who shaped history:
As settlement checks arrived across Indian County and the University of Montana dedicated the new Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute in Missoula this fall, Montanans have been reminded again of the legacy of Elouise Cobell and her unyielding pursuit of justice.

Cobell, who died in Great Falls in 2011, filed with four others a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government in 1996 that claimed the Interior Department misspent, lost or stole billions of dollars received for oil and gas leases and other uses of individual Indian lands held in trust by the United States and meant for Native American land trust account holders dating back to the 1880s.

The government amassed attorneys in “Cobell War Rooms.” Meanwhile, Cobell became the face of 500,000 Indians the suit represented, whom she railed to the cause. She lobbied Congress.

Cobell was “a significant force for change. She is a hero in all senses of the word,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

Get the Story:
Courageous stands in Montana history (The Great Falls Tribune 11/2)

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