Cobell Case Not Yet Closed
Native American Legislative Update - September 2012
Cobell Settlement Appealed
Kimberly Craven, a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate nation, has appealed to the Supreme Court to reject the Cobell v. Salazar settlement. The case charges that the Department of the Interior failed to keep an adequate accounting of assets such as land, mines and oil wells held in trust for individual Native Americans and failed to pay the proceeds of those assets to the Native American owners. The administration admitted that the U.S. government failed to keep records on assets that had been held for decades – some from the 19th century. A parallel case makes a similar charge on behalf of tribes.
After 15 years of argument in various venues, the Cobell case resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement, with substantial payments to the lawyers and to the named plaintiffs, small payments to the class members, and directions to the federal government to clean up its record-keeping. Kimberly Craven could not see the fairness in such small settlements for such significant holding of assets. On August 20, she decided to appeal. See information about her appeal here.