• Andrew Ramonas
    Lobbying Reporter
  • Beth Frerking
    Editor in Chief
  • David Brown
    Vice President/Editor, ALM
  • Diego Radzinschi
    Photo Editor
  • Jenna Greene
    Senior Reporter
  • Marcia Coyle
    Chief Washington Correspondent
  • Mike Scarcella
    Washington Bureau Chief
  • Todd Ruger
    Capitol Hill Reporter
  • Tony Mauro
    Supreme Court Correspondent
  • Zoe Tillman
    D.C. Courts Reporter

« Appeals Court Rules Against Challenge to 'So Help Me God' in Oath | Main | FTC Sues to Un-do Educational Marketing Merger »

May 07, 2010



Does Congress really think that Native Americans are ignorant? Get this passed and quit letting people stonewall this thing! the banks and the bailouts did not go through this...why is this government doing this to the first people?

Donald I. Kelly

Without knowing in detail who is getting what,when and how it really can't be discussed outside of the court proceedings to include the original complaint that started these things to begin with.

I would like to know how the award was generated and more important "based on" what monetary value. As we all know a home bought just a few years back with an appraised value of say $400-K, today has a value of about $200-K. There is no doubt that money as compensation is due all of those named but, on what money value basis? Keep in the back of your mind that Manhattan in New York was purchased from the Native Indians for "99-cents." Who else made money on the sale is more interesting in that there may have been "lobbyists" sitting around doing the dealing and screwing the native indians. As we all know when lobbysts become involved anything and everything is up for grabbs.


Donald I. Kelly


I remember several years ago congressional relpresentative from the State of South Dakota (or was it North Dakota)continually blocked legislation favorable to Indian country (along with McCain of AZ). When this individual came up for relection the citizens of his respective home state voted him out. I suggest that the citizens of the great state of Oklahomla look to Rep. Coburn and weigh where his true loyaltiels lie. If they are not supportive of his Native American constituents, then by all means, VOTE SOMEONE IN WHO IS!!!


The Bureau of Indian Affairs is the "trickle down effect" so to speak. It's not "whom" to blame, it's the education of the Bureau's that we should be concerned about. Working for the government for years I personally witnessed a lot of uneducated decisions and political decisions that just made no sense!! So what if this is settled, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is just that...The Bureau of Indian Affairs and have in the past not cared about the Indian people they just are doing there jobs as in the trickle down effect....look at the public schools on the "reservations" (hate that word)in New Mexico..they have been trying for 13 years to update the schools there for the Indian Childrens safety...7 years to get the fire alarms replaced...there is no trickle down effect the way, in my tribe, we still have to use the enrollment numbers to the people who have passed or are ready to pass...and that's the Bureau for uneducated that no one can figure out a numerical formula to insert "new & alive" enrollment numbers..I asked why this happened and the response was.."well, the bureau hasn't authorized it"..Also, in ten years the money goes back to the government??Well, in the department I worked for we looked for things to buy, looked for ways to spend the money as well as gave monetary awards that weren't even deserved just so we didn't have to give the money back..and that was in the Indian Health Service with common knowledge that it went on in the BIA above us on the other floors!! New carpets, new desks, new swivel chairs...etc..etc..

Joe Jackson

Nedra, The courts did not award the plaintfifs in Cobell anything yet. In fact, Judge Robertson predicted that the plaintiffs may only be awarded less than $500 million, a far cry from their original $127 billion claim. Racism is a big word for such a complicated issue. 14 years of litigation on claims that relate back to actions over a century ago cannot be boiled down quickly to one vote in the Senate. Shame on you for bantering around such hate-filled words without knowing the full background of the issue.

Bernice Riggers

The US Government is always defrauding people. I hope there proud of themselves.

Bernice Riggers

I hope and PRAY Senator Coburn reads these comments made by us. As I said before it's like someone stealing from your bank account and you know who it is But they won't admit the guilt and CRIME. Time to PAY up on the Cobell case and END IT. I'm quite sure if you can find the funding to bail out Wall Street,GM,And these big Banks you can find money to pay the Native Americans. Get on the ball Congress and stop shuffling your feet.


why put the pigford in with the cobell ?
2 seperate cases in my opinion.
if the lawyers & ms-mrs cobell want to get approval why jump the total to 5.1 billion makes no sense keep it at 3.4 for cobell.two different cases. why..why ??

Bernice Riggers

Well you know everyone in the Senate is practically Caucasian. But it sounds like to me that Senator Coburn Is RACIST. Because he does not want to see the settlement be approved in legislation. If he were truly a team player he woud want to see legislation pass ASAP. There are countless numbers of Native Americans depending on Senator Coburn's POSITIVE response.

Nedra Johnson

I do not understand how the Senate can continue not paying these litigants the money that was awarded to them. The courts found that the U.S. Government defrauded these Americans and now the Senate will not pay them the money that is due them. It smacks of Racism to me....

Kimberly Craven

Like many of the 384,000 federally recognized tribal members who are certified members of the class action lawsuit, Cobell v. Salazar, I was pleased when I learned the Obama Administration and the four named plaintiffs had reached a settlement in December 2009. But after a careful reading of the full settlement, I am disappointed and outspoken in my efforts to educate Indian Country about its ramifications. As the old adage goes, the devil is in the details of what the plaintiffs have agreed to in exchange for settling their 14 year old lawsuit. I see three key issues that must be resolved before the settlement is ratified by Congress and goes back to the Court.
First, the plaintiffs have agreed to the Administration’s request to create a totally new class of plaintiffs to extinguish claims which are entirely outside the scope of the current litigation. The new class, for $500 plus a formula amount, is asked to forever extinguish all their claims for the past mismanagement of their land and its resources – timber, water, grazing or other economic use. The Cobell suit was filed in a Court of Equity that could order an historical accounting as a remedy but it is NOT a court that could award monetary damages. But yet, here we are being offered $3.4 billion dollars? The Obama Administration seems determined “to wipe the slate clean” and “turn a page” without even bothering to find out what is on the slate and whether the page can or should be turned at this time. To many Indian people, a new beginning will consist of restoring and repatriating our homelands to tribes and Indian families in a way that has never occurred before. This new class needs to be dropped out of the proposed settlement. Then the original accounting class might receive between $3,000 to $4,000, not the $1,000 currently proposed.
Secondly, $2 billion of the settlement goes to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to purchase back fractioned lands, through the Indian land Consolidation Act that will eventually be returned to the tribes. Neither the tribes, their members or the lawsuit plaintiffs will have any say over which lands are repurchased and consolidated. Rather, the agency most responsible for mismanagement of Indian land will be given sole discretion. After 10 years, any unspent funds revert back to the Treasury. To me, this is an illusory promise and the “reverter clause” is highly frowned upon in class action settlements. The $2 billion should be put in a permanent trust fund account for the tribes where the interest may be spent on repatriating and restoring lands, for tribes and Indian families who want to reclaim their ancestral homelands.
A $60 million scholarship fund builds from small rebates when Indian people sell their fractioned interest in land. If the seven attorneys named in the proposed Cobell Settlement get their $50 to $100 million right away, let’s endow the scholarship fund upfront and start making funds available immediately for Native youth so often caught in a web of hopelessness. If the attorneys get $100 million -- for parity’s sake --let’s dedicate the same to our youth.
Sen. Thomas Barrasso (R-WY) has asked Tribes and Indian people to submit their ideas about how the settlement might be strengthened to better meet the needs of Tribes and Indian people. I appreciate this good faith effort much more than the current efforts to tack the required settlement legislation onto other Congressional bills without benefit of a public hearing on the merits. Transparency is an important element for a healthy democracy – even for Indians.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad