Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Editorial: Our nation is better off thanks to the late Elouise Cobell






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

Praise from Montana for the late Elouise Cobell, who was the lead plaintiff in the landmark Indian trust fund lawsuit that resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement with the federal government. Cobell, who was a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation, will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on November 22:
We wish she would have been here to receive that honor in person.

Cobell was born on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Nov. 5, 1945, with the Indian name Yellowbird Woman, the great-granddaughter of famous Indian leader Mountain Chief.

Cobell and four others filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government in 1996 that claimed the Interior Department misspent, lost or stole billions of dollars meant for Native American land trust account holders dating back to the 1880s. It took 16 years to reach a $3.4 billion settlement.

The lawsuit brought Cobell national recognition. She received a $300,000 “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1997 and used most of the money to help fund the lawsuit.

The White House called Cobell an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence.

Read More:
Editorial: Nation is a better place because of Elouise Cobell (The Great Falls Tribune 11/20)

Another Opinion:
Jerry Large: Native American struggle will continue until we do right (The Seattle Times 11/21)

Related Stories:
White House honors the late Elouise Cobell with Medal of Freedom (11/16)
Harlan McKosato: Film pays tribute to 'warrior' Elouise Cobell (10/26)
Review: Elouise Cobell and her battle for justice in '100 Years' (10/11)
Review: 'Inspiring' documentary about Elouise Cobell's battle (09/26)
Film about Elouise Cobell's long 'fight for justice' set for fall release (09/06)
Interior Department sends more money for Cobell scholarships (07/20)
Elouise Cobell being considered for Presidential Medal of Freedom (05/05)
Sen. Tester eyes Presidential Medal of Freedom for Elouise Cobell (03/22)
Cobell plaintiffs offer update on distribution of settlement funds (01/06)
Montana governor proclaims November 5 as Elouise Cobell Day (11/06)
Bill to create day to honor late Elouise Cobell stalls in Montana (02/25)