Column: Cowboy banks got paid more than Indians
"Over here you have the bazillions of U.S. bucks doled out to Wall Street’s cowboys for reckless conduct that wrecked the world’s economy.

Over there you have a $3.4 billion federal settlement with people from whom the U.S. had been essentially stealing for more than 100 years.

To seek what was owed them, American Indians spent 13 years in court where judge after judge decried the government’s gross mismanagement of their funds and “mendacity” in litigation.

And yet it took that long for the Justice Department to step up to the plate and agree to pay more than a pittance.

If the Indians had been AIG, the $3.4 billion settlement announced this week would have been many times larger. The real AIG -- insurance giant American International Group Inc. -- sopped up $180 billion in government aid after helping to create the economic havoc felt around the world.

The Indians sought no bailout, no handout when they filed suit in 1996 to claim royalties due them for oil, gas, timber, mining and grazing rights to lands allotted them under an 1887 agreement with the federal government. "

Get the Story:
Ann Woolner: Cowboy Banks Get Big Bucks as Indians Get Little (Bloomberg News 12/11)

Relevant Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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Twitter Recap of Cobell settlement with Photos (12/8)
Statement by President Obama on Cobell settlement (12/8)
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Statement by Sen. McCain on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Sen. Tester on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Rep. Rahall on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Rep. Cole and Rep. Kildee on Cobell settlement (12/8)
'Major' announcement on Indian trust management (12/8)

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