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Interior Dept, BIA desperation mounts, Indian trust case draws to a close

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 05:41 PM
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Interior Dept, BIA desperation mounts, Indian trust case draws to a close
Interior Dept. and BIA desperation mounts as Indian trust case draws to a close http://www.agrnews.org/issues/235/nationalnews.html#3

Most Americans are familiar with the sad history of the US government's shameful treatment of the American Indian. If asked, most would probably say the worst chapters of this account were written in the distant past. Today's crimes against the nation's poorest people, carried out over the course of decades and mummified in reams of bureaucracy, are a kind of institutionalized villainy journalists find it difficult to write about.

Perhaps that's why the media has paid so little attention to the largest-ever class action lawsuit against the US federal government. Filed more than seven years ago by Blackfeet tribe member Elouise Cobell and her legal team on behalf of more than 500,000 individual Indian landholders, Cobell vs. Norton is easily one of the biggest stories of government criminality in modern US history.

At stake is over $100 billion dollars rightfully belonging to the nation's poorest people. The Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Treasury claim to have simply "lost" the money, and claim they cannot now provide an accurate accounting of how much is owed to whom. In the course of the lawsuit, the government has repeatedly destroyed vital accounting documents, deliberately filed false reports to the court, and generally conducted itself in such bad faith that a stunning total of 37 past and present government officials, including current Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and former Secretary Bruce Babbitt, have been held in contempt of court for their misconduct.

Thanks in no small part to a "genius" grant from the MacArthur Foundation and the more than $4 million dollars from the Santa Fe-based Lannan Foundation, the plaintiffs in Cobell vs. Norton stand poised for a victory of epic, David-and-Goliath proportions. However, the government is not going to cede an inch or a penny without a fight, particularly to a group who represent less than one percent of the voting population. Desperate to avoid accountability, the government is hoping for an eleventh-hour bailout from The House Appropriations Committee, which has proposed a provision to end the lawsuit and force Indians to accept a settlement devised by the Interior.
..more..
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Pow_Wow Donating Member (378 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-22-03 01:20 PM
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1. this had zero views? (I clicked twice)
I guess there are no Native Americans here... pretty important issue to some folks...
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-22-03 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. There are some of us here that follow this.
This piece is a rehash from what I can tell.
I mostly watch indianz.com.
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Pow_Wow Donating Member (378 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-22-03 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. cool
I just thought I'd save it from oblivion, looks to be a few days old.
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