Elouise Cobell: Bringing the United States to Account
"Our Cause Will Ultimately Triumph": Profiles from the American Indian Sovereignty Movement (Tim Alan Garrison, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2014)
14 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2012 Last revised: 12 Jan 2017
Date Written: October 12, 2012
Elouise Cobell grew up in a home without running water or electricity, was educated in a one room school house, dropped out of college to care for her mother as she was dying from cancer, and was repeatedly dismissed as incompetent when she sought answers for federal mismanagement of Indian trust accounts. Before her death in 2011, however, she had founded the first Native American bank, won a MacArthur “genius” grant, been honored as a warrior by her tribe, and made the United States agree to pay 3.4 billion dollars — the largest federal class action settlement ever — for its mismanagement of Indian property. She died of cancer less than a year after President Obama signed the settlement in the massive class action that bears her name. This short chapter for a book profiling American Indian legal heroes tells Cobell's story and the story of the wrong she spent her life trying to correct.
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