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Cobell | Opinion
Editorial: Settling more than a century of injustice


"American taxpayers got off easy with a $3.4 billion settlement of a lawsuit over the shameful and incompetent handling of individual Indian trust accounts by the U.S. government.

This 13-year-old case, with grievances that date back a century, was about the federal government's failure to keep track of billions of dollars of lease and royalty receipts collected on reservation lands, covering everything from grazing fees to oil and gas leases.

Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe, and others are to be celebrated for their tenacity as well as their financial victory.

Trials that began in 1999 revealed the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Treasury failed to keep records or install an accounting system. The federal government was eventually caught destroying records about its shameful bureau-cratic history."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tribes prevail to settle an injustice (The Seattle Times 12/11)

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

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