Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet) came one step closer to sealing a long-fought victory in her lawsuit against the Interior Department as the Senate on Friday approved the $3.4 billion settlement in a package. The legislation now moves to the House, where similar language has already been approved.
“It’s 17 below and the Blackfeet nation is feeling warm,” Cobell told the Associated Press. “I don’t know if people understand or believe the agony you go through when one of the beneficiaries passes away without justice.”
Here’s the full AP story on Missoulian.com.
You can read full statements from Elouise Cobell and President Barack Obama on the Senate vote at Jodi Rave’s blog, Buffalo’s Fire.
In other news,
U.S. Senate approves water rights settlements with Crow Tribe, others
The Senate also approved Friday several water rights settlements, including a a $462 million portion going to Montana’s Crow Tribe. Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Tribe and New Mexico’s Pueblo of Taos and a group of four other pueblos were also included in the almost $1 billion settlement.
The measure would guarantee the tribes’ rights to water resources, while the money attached to the settlement would help build safe drinking water and irrigation systems, the Associated Press reports.
“It opens the door to economic recovery for the tribe,” said Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle, whose tribe has long struggled with poverty. “We would have the potential to utilize Crow water for industrial use as well as commercial use, having safe drinking water, having an irrigation project.”