In the landmark case, *Cobell v Salazar, she won back $3.4 Billion, a portion of the money that was squandered by the US Government officials and greedy corporations who stripped native land of natural resources for over a 100 years. Like David and Goliath she faced off the federal machine with fervor and determination in what was considered a lost cause, the Indian Trust Fund. It was estimated the US government and corrupt corporations owned this fund hundreds of billions of dollars with no desire to pay back a penny even though they made trillions and trillions of dollars over the years. What was taken from the Native American communities was the wealth that built empires and corporations today.
There was no excuse for Native communities to live in abject poverty over the years other than pure greed and total disregard of human life. It was just another broken treaty, just another pack of lies with years of human suffering and abject poverty for the indigenous people across America. Though the award actually did not even cover the interest on what was actually owed the tribes of America it was better than nothing and we (Native American’s) owe a debt of gratitude to this Blackfeet woman for her efforts to regain some dignity in light of this colossal miscarriage of justice that was perpetrated over the years by the US Government.
Some folks call it Indian welfare when nothing could be further from the truth since this was a deal struck long ago by the government on behalf of corporate thugs. Ironically they are the ancestors of the thugs who are profiteering on misery today. The Indian Trust Fund was a legitimate contract or treaty where corporate interests would award tribes monies for the use of our tribal land and for the gleaning of natural resources. Like any business deal this money was not welfare but payment plain and simple. If the government kept its deal or word with Native America we would not be suffering and living in third world conditions today. The resources that were taken from tribes included but not limited to gold, oil/gas, uranium, coal, silver, copper, water, land and a host of other natural resources that garnered hundreds of trillions of dollars to corporations and built America into the superpower it is today. Elouise Cobell is truly a champion beyond words and will be sorely missed by us all for her efforts and she will be remembered in our oral history.
Elouise Cobell and the Indian Trust Fund Case
Elouise P. Cobell bio;
Your Devil’s Advocate