Monday, October 17, 2011

Another great American dies

You will have never heard of her. But for sixteen years, she took on the federal government over probably $1 TRILLION stolen from Native Americans over the past hundred years where the Federal government collected trillions of dollars in mineral and ranching lease royalties from Indian lands over the course of over a hundred years, and then didn't forward it all to the Indians that it was supposedly being held in trust for.

Today I got this message in my inbox:

Elouise Cobell, an enrolled member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe who led a 16-year landmark legal fight to get the federal government to pay an estimated 500,000 Native Americans for mismanaging their trust accounts, died Sunday at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Mont.

A great granddaughter of Mountain Chief, one of the legendary Indian war chiefs, Elouise had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks before her class-action lawsuit was given final approval by Judge Hogan in Washington, D.C. on June 20, 2011.

Born on the Blackfeet Reservation on Nov. 5, 1945, Ms. Cobell was one of eight children.

Her survivors include: her husband, Alvin Cobell of Blacktail, Mont., a son, Turk Cobell and his wife, Bobbie, of Las Vegas, two grandchildren, Olivia, and Gabriella, a brother, Dale Pepion of Browning, Mont., and three sisters, Julene Kennerly of Browning, Mont., Joy Ketah of Seattle and Karen Powell of Browning, Mont.

Ms. Cobell will be remembered as an extraordinary person as well as a warrior and uncommon leader. Ms. Cobell drew the line in the sand and told the government "no longer, no further, and no more." Against seemingly insurmountable odds, Ms. Cobell never backed down in her selfless fight for justice for the most vulnerable people in this country and concluded this long-running case for the largest settlement involving the government in American history. A true hero is gone today and everyone should be thankful for her sacrifice and enduring spirit. We may never see the likes of her again. And, while Elouise did not live to see the fruits of her labor, she saw over the horizon to a better world for all individual Indians.

Condolences and remembrances may be sent via email to

-- Badtux the Obituaries Penguin


  1. I had never heard of her until I read this post. That kind of says it all.

  2. That's sad. I followed that case for years. All they wanted was an accounting of what they were owed.

  3. Lawsuits... the peaceful method used by the powerless to challenge the powerful. When there is no hope of using the "rule of law" to resolve power imbalances, then people will have to take outlaw means. Perhaps the Native peoples are too weak and disorganized to figfht back in the way their ancestors did (when they got genocided for it.) Perhaps they still clung to the illusion that there would be "justice" through legal means. But increasingly, the 99% will recognize that they're all Indians now. I'm looking forward to the scalping and flaming arrows.


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