Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ben Carnes: 'Cobell Settlement: A knife in our backs'

Cobell Settlement: A knife in our backs
By Ben Carnes

“Real justice for these Indians may still lie in the distant future; it may never come at all. This reality makes a statement about our society and our form of government that we should be unwilling to let stand.” Judge Royce Lamberth

Those prophetic words by Lamberth became a reality on June 20 when the federal court in Washington, DC approved the Cobell settlement. There is much ado how this was a major victory as in a David and Goliath scenario. However, one only needs to read in between the fine print to know this was a serious setback. I had already suspected it was a foregone conclusion when the settlement was first announced and Obama signed off on it. This was an easy out for the government; they secured the victory, not us.

The basic provisions of the settlement are:

$1.4 billion to pay Individual Indian Money (IIM) account owners$1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund to "purchase" fractionated Individual Indian trust lands.Not more than $60 million for an Indian Education Scholarship Fund to assist Native people to attend college or vocational school.

More details are available at

IIM Accounts

Initially, the estimates arrived by Cobell was that approx. 176 billion was missing from the IIM accounts. So why did she and the attorneys spend more than 2 million dollars encouraging people to accept this settlement? A settlement that only constitutes less than 2% of her original estimates? From what I have gathered by being in the courtroom listening to the attorneys, they admitted their chances of success at trial had grown smaller.
Read the column at Ben Carnes' 'Eaglemanz Communique's'

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