The Islamic Post Blog

Native American Reparations Money Not Received by Khalida
October 3, 2008, 8:09 pm
Filed under: National, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags:
Blackfoot Indian tribe leader Elouise Cobell (above) claims disbursments hardly reached rightful Indian land owners and their heirs due to government ‘mismanagement.’ (Law Web Photo)

Blackfoot Indian tribe leader Elouise Cobell (above) claims disbursments hardly reached rightful Indian land owners and their heirs due to government ‘mismanagement.’ (Law Web Photo)

By Raheemah Atif, Islamic Post Staff Writer

The largest class-action lawsuit ever filed against the Federal government recently reached a conclusion, after 12 years of litigation, with the official ruling of U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson, that awarded a $445 million dollar judgement to approximately 902 native American tribes across the United States.  Elouise Cobell, the Blackfoot Indian tribal leader who initiated the lawsuit against the government, contends that payments for the government use of Indian lands (including royalties for the use of the natural resources in and on the lands, such as timber, mining, and oil) that had accumulated over many years, had been used to the benefit of the government, and not disbursed to the rightful Indian landowners and their heirs. The judgement is restitution for an estimated $47 billion plaintiffs concluded was owed them from 1887 until the present. The case centers around the Department of the Interior’s management (or mismanagement) of trust funds – proceeds resulting from land lease payments paid by the Federal government into half a million Indians’ accounts that were being managed by the Interior Department.
Although the decision is a decided victory, Ms. Cobell expressed near shock at the reduction of the total amount of the award, in lieu of the plaintiffs’ estimations of how much money the government actually should have owed based upon their best calculations.   Ms. Cobell affirmed that the preparation of the defense had been so well researched and detailed, that the plaintiffs were confident of obtaining a ruling in their favor for something near the amount they had calculated.  However, in an explanation of his ruling, Judge Robertson wrote that “their model did not make use of the best available evidence and did not make fair or reasonable comparisons of data.”  It was also mentioned that the plaintiffs failed to provide concrete evidence of “prodigious pilfering of assets from within the trust system,” and were unable to demonstrate that funds diverted from the trust accounts were actually used for the benefit of the government.  Ms. Cobell confirmed that they will assess the impact and details of the ruling and then decide on what their next step will be in the resolution of the litigation.


2 Comments so far
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That is amazing that the our natives lost so much.I’m half black foot and Cherokee what should I do? or what can I do?

Comment by Eric Keith

Go for it, I am a blackfoot Indian if you need my help let me now.

Comment by Victor Pilot

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