(Editor’s Note: Today is a day for light posting as I spend most of it traveling. Please check back this evening for postings of the day’s events.)
Elouise Cobell, whose name heads the historic Cobell v. Salazar class action case, has been touring the Dakotas this week to answer questions about last fall’s settlement of more than $3 billion in the case. The money is to compensate tens of thousands of Indian people for federal mismanagement of royalty payments due on their lands. The amount, while one of the largest ever in such a case, still falls far short of the roughly $50 billion some estimate is more accurate, and not everyone is happy with the settlement. Here‘s the entire Rapid City (S.D.) Journal story, by Mary Garrigan, on one of Cobell’s sessions this week:
Cobell finalized the proposed settlement in December 2009 after a 14-year legal battle on behalf of more than 300,000 Native American trust land owners. She alleged the Interior Department bungled the accounting on thousands of individual Native trust accounts for more than 100 years.
But as the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the settlement, which Congress must approve and fund by an April 16 deadline, critics began cropping up on Capitol Hill and on reservations in South Dakota.
After a March 8 public meeting in Kyle, where Cobell and two of the attorneys in the 14-year-old lawsuit answered questions about the settlement, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls said Wednesday that “there are a lot of questions” about the settlement throughout her reservation, and she canceled a trip to Washington, D.C., to speak in favor of it.
“I declined to testify at the March 10 hearing. I need to hear from my tribe first. I can’t go there to say yes or no on the settlement,” Two Bulls said during a radio address Wednesday to the tribe, broadcast live on KILI radio.
Tags: buffalo post, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Cobell v. Salazar, Elouise Cobell, Gwen Florio, Indian trust case, Joseph Brings Plenty, KILI radio, Native American news, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Theresa Two Bulls, U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Interior Department