Editorial: Indian Country owed more than $455.6M
"Finally, a federal judge has come up with a dollar figure in a long-running class action trust case involving 500,000 Native American plaintiffs.

While the dispute is not over, the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson should serve as an important step to bring it to an end.

The judge ruled that the plaintiffs are entitled to $455 million, but that’s just a fraction of the $47 billion most recently sought by the plaintiffs for being swindled out of oil, gas, grazing and timber royalties by the U.S. Department of Interior for decades.

Robertson used firm language in explaining his ruling this week: The model used by the plaintiffs to estimate the amount of money withheld from them could not “be used as a representation or even an estimate of the amount of trust funds that the government has failed to disburse ... Their model did not make use of the best available evidence and did not make fair or reasonable comparisons of data.”

But the judge himself suggested that his $445 million may not be adequate. What it could do, however, is help spur both sides to accept negotiations that could lead to a settlement."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Indians deserve money; settle it (The Daily Inter Lake 8/10)

Court Decision:
Cobell v. Kempthorne (August 7, 2008)

Trial Transcripts:
June 9 AM | June 9 PM | June 10 AM | June 10 PM | June 11 | June 12 AM | June 12 PM | June 16 AM | June 16 PM | June 17 AM | June 17 PM | June 18 AM | June 18 PM | June 19 AM

Related Stories:
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Letter: Indians kept poor by federal government (6/16)
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Editorial: $58B trust payout more than fair (6/13)
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After six-plus years, BIA website finally online (05/27)
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Judge issues pre-trial order in Cobell trust case (5/13)
Bush administration responds to Cobell $58B claim (04/11)
'Rough justice' seen in resolving Cobell case (4/7)
House panel threatens Cobell accounting cut (4/4)
Letter: A small spark of justice in Cobell case (3/31)
Cobell plaintiffs say $58B owed for Indian trust (3/21)
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Judge sets June 9 trial to resolve Cobell case (3/5)
Judge to hold Cobell hearing this Wednesday (3/3)
Next hearing in Cobell case set for March 5 (02/21)
Resolution appears near in Cobell trust case (2/19)
Editorial: Settle 'botched' Indian trust fund (02/06)
Editorial: Settle the Indian trust fund lawsuit (2/4)
Kempthorne reiterates $7B Indian trust offer (2/1)
Editorial: A remedy for 'neglect' of Indian trust (2/1)
Cobell: 'Great day in Indian Country' (1/31)
Judge: Cobell historical accounting 'impossible' (1/30)
Cobell statement on historical accounting decision (1/30)
Jim Cason: Historical accounting facts (01/18)

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