Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 1  October, 2011

Baucus and Tester seek Congressional Gold Medal for Elouise Cobell\-for-elouise-cobell/
Condensed by Native Village

Washington D.C.: U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus have introduced legislation to award Elouise Cobell the Congressional Gold Medal.

Cobell, a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, is being recognized for "her outstanding and enduring contributions to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and the Nation through her tireless pursuit of justice."

Tester said:

"Hundreds of thousands of American Indians will benefit due to Elouise's dedication to justice, fairness and the trust responsibility of the U.S. government. Elouise refused to take no for an answer and her tireless pursuit represents the standard by which we should award historic honors like the Congressional Gold Medal.

"Elouise's hard work on behalf of not only Montana's tribes, but for American Indians everywhere deserves thanks and the highest recognition available. It's been an honor to work with her over the years and I applaud her hard-fought efforts to reform the way the federal government handles its responsibilities to Native Americans. Generations to come will benefit because Elouise stood up and demanded a better future for American Indians."

In the 1980s, Cobell was Treasurer for the Blackfeet Nation. She began finding many irregularities in funds that the U.S. was holding in trust for the Blackfeet and other Indians.  From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Elouise sought federal reform without success.

In 1996, Cobell filed an historic lawsuit against the federal government saying they mismanaged trust funds belonging to more than 500,000 individual American Indians. Congress agreed to a $3,400,000,000 settlement in December of 2010.

The Congressional Gold Medal is often considered the most distinguished recognition that Congress bestows.

[Editor's Note:] The Bay Area Indian Calendar issued the following announcement in its September 15 email:

Auntie Eloise Cobell in Hospice in Great Falls, MT. Please send prayers and, if you're thankful for what she did for Native People, drop her a card and let her know: Benefis Peace Hospice 2600 15th Ave. South Great Falls Mt. 59405

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