Column: Cobell deal not so great for Indian Country
"Heading the list of "questionable coups" this month was word that the first black president of the United States - who courted the Native American vote while campaigning - decided to symbolically return the support the first Americans had shown him in 2008 by settling the "long-running and contentious lawsuit over royalties owed to Native Americans". That would be the class-action lawsuit Eloise Cobell filed 13 years ago on behalf of thousands of Native Americans who'd been ripped off by the federal government to the tune of $100 billion - and that's a conservative estimate.

Obama made the suit disappear from the American political consciousness by giving the approximately 300,000 Native American plaintiffs $1.4 billion to divide among themselves. That's about $47,000 each - maximum. It's a nice piece of change if someone just walked up to you on the street and said: "Here's 47 Gs." It's chump change when you should have been getting $1,000 on land leases each month for decades and only received $70 per and a bureaucratic smile.

Odd behavior for a man who recently assured tribal leaders he would work with them to address the chronic problems of health care, economic development, land management and education in Indian Country.

"You will not be forgotten by this White House," Obama told Native American leaders. And, honestly, he didn't forget the Cobell lawsuit. He just forgot how to count."

Get the Story:
Jim Kent: Good news for Native Americans. Not. (The Rapid City Journal 12/18)

SCIA Hearing:
OVERSIGHT HEARING on the Cobell v. Salazar Settlement Agreement (December 17, 2009)

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

Related Stories:
Cobell urges Senate to move quickly on settlement (12/18)
Column: Free Indians of federal government control (12/18)
Editorial: Cobell deal corrects century-old old wrong (12/18)
Editorial: Settlement and accountability in trust fund (12/18)
Witness List: Senate hearing on Cobell settlement (12/16)
Mary Pember: The small picture of the Cobell deal (12/16)
Opinion: Deal won't change much in Indian Country (12/16)
Editorial: Settlement in Cobell case is long overdue (12/16)
Editorial: Act quickly to approve Cobell settlement (12/16)
Bill Means: Cobell settlement a rip-off for Indians (12/15)
Editorial: At last a settlement in Cobell trust case (12/15)
North Dakota tribes back settlement in Cobell case (12/14)
Opinion: Indian plaintiff won't see trust settlement (12/14)
Column: Navajo woman helped resolve Cobell case (12/14)
Editorial: Preventing future trust mismanagement (12/14)
Editorial: Approve settlement to Cobell trust case (12/14)
Senate committee sets Cobell settlement hearing (12/11)
Washington tribes react to Cobell case settlement (12/11)
Editorial: Land consolidation program 'worrisome' (12/11)
Lynne Harlan: A new era in federal Indian relations (12/11)
Column: Cowboy banks got paid more than Indians (12/11)
Editorial: Settling more than a century of injustice (12/11)
Editorial: Support settlement for Cobell trust case (12/11)
Editorial: Acknowledge past mistakes in trust fund (12/11)
Editorial: A long overdue settlement to Cobell suit (12/11)
NARF welcomes settlement in Cobell trust lawsuit (12/10)
Cobell hailed as warrior as she returns to Montana (12/10)
Billings Paper: Cobell deal sends $27M to Montana (12/10)
Editorial: Cobell settlement fair for Indian Country (12/10)
Editorial: Welcome settlement to Cobell trust case (12/10)
Mostly praise for $3.4B settlement to Cobell lawsuit (12/9)
Editorial: Act quickly on Indian trust fund settlement (12/9)
Twitter Recap of Cobell settlement with Photos (12/8)
Statement by President Obama on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Sen. Dorgan on Cobell settlement (12/8)
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)