What Is Cobell?
Cobell v. Salazar (previously Cobell v. Kempthorne and Cobell v. Norton and Cobell v. Babbitt) is a class-action lawsuit brought by Native American representatives against two departments of the United States government (Department of Interior and Department of Treasury). The plaintiffs claim that the U.S. government has incorrectly accounted for Indian trust assets, which belong to individual Native Americans (as beneficial owners), but are managed by the Department of the Interior (as the legal owner and fiduciary trustee).
Cobell v. Babbitt was filed on June 10, 1996. On December 8, 2009, a $3.4 billion settlement was announced. $1.4 billion of the settlement is allocated to plaintiffs in the suit, and up to $2 billion is allocated for re-purchase of lands distributed under the Dawes Act. President Barack signed legislation authorizing government funding of a final version of the $3.4 billion settlement in December 2010, raising the possibility of final closure after fourteen years of litigation.
Elouise Cobell passed away from complications with cancer, Sunday, October 16, 2011, in Great Falls, Montana. She was 65.
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