Elouise Cobell being considered for Presidential Medal of Freedom

The late Elouise Cobell meets President Barack Obama at the White House. December 8, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The late Elouise Cobell, who was the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, is officially under consideration for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Great Falls Tribune reports.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, made the announcement during a visit to the Blackfeet Nation on Tuesday, the paper said. Cobell served as treasurer of the tribe before filing the landmark lawsuit in June 1996.

“To ensure that her legacy lives on and she receives the recognition she deserves, I am nominating Elouise Cobell for the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the highest civilian award that can be presented," Tester said, the paper reported.

If the nomination is approved, Cobell would be the fourth Indian Country recipient of the medal during the administration of President Barack Obama. He presented the award to the late treaty rights advocate Billy Frank, activist Suzan Shown Harjo and historian Joe Medicine Crow, who has since passed on.

Cobell died in October 2011 after negotiating a $3.4 billion settlement to the lawsuit. She won a series of victories in the case, most notably the one that requires the federal government to account for "all" of the funds in the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust.

Get the Story:
Elouise Cobell nominated for Medal of Freedom (The Great Falls Tribune 5/5)

Related Stories
Sen. Tester eyes Presidential Medal of Freedom for Elouise Cobell (03/22)
Cobell plaintiffs offer update on distribution of settlement funds (01/06)
Montana governor proclaims November 5 as Elouise Cobell Day (11/06)
Bill to create day to honor late Elouise Cobell stalls in Montana (02/25)

Join the Conversation