Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Cobell
Jodi Rave: Salazar won't talk about Cobell case


"Native advocates who believed President Barack Obama would settle a long-standing lawsuit between the Interior Department and Native landholders say they're disappointed with the new administration.

Instead, Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have expressed a need to settle the Cobell v. Salazar case in court rather than sit down and talk to Native landowners and negotiate a settlement.

“Salazar's out there talking, saying he wants to settle this case and putting false hopes into Indian people,” said Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the case.

“It's really a slam in the face,” she said. “Why is this administration taking this avenue? They have to live up to their trust responsibility and they need to talk to Indian people.”

Dennis Gingold, lead attorney in the 12-year-old case, pointed out Wednesday that Salazar is a trustee. “And he can't sit down and talk to the trust beneficiaries?” Gingold asked.

Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the department could not comment because the case is in litigation. Salazar, Barkoff said, “is sincere in trying to find a resolution to this case.”"

Get the Story:
Native trust lawsuit likely headed back to court (The Missoulian 3/26)

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