Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Bill seeks to award Congressional Gold Medal to Elouise Cobell

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) introduced a bill on Tuesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund case.

Cobell, 65, is a member of the Blackfeet Nation. She filed the lawsuit against the federal government in June 1996, which resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement that was approved by Congress and signed into law last December.

“Hundreds of thousands of American Indians will benefit due to Elouise’s dedication to justice, fairness and the trust responsibility of the U.S. government,” Tester, a longtime friend of Cobell’s and a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said in a press release. “Elouise refused to take no for an answer and her tireless pursuit represents the standard by which we should award historic honors like the Congressional Gold Medal.”

“Elouise’s hard work on behalf of not only Montana’s tribes, but for American Indians everywhere deserves thanks and the highest recognition available," Baucus added. "It’s been an honor to work with her over the years and I applaud her hard-fought efforts to reform the way the federal government handles its responsibilities to Native Americans. Generations to come will benefit because Elouise stood up and demanded a better future for American Indians.”

"Elouise Cobell’s life and work has shined light on the barriers confronted by individual Indians in the United States, and her actions not only raise the national awareness of these issues, they resolve them," the bill states.


Cobell said in response: "Just to be nominated for this medal is a tremendous honor. I am indebted to both my senators for their legislation."

The bill is S.1514. It was referred to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

Get the Story:
Senators want to honor Cobell with congressional medal (The Billings Gazette 9/7)