Cobell Royalties Lawsuit at Impasse!
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided on November 15th that it was unreasonable to require a detailed historical accounting of the money the government has been managing for Native Americans saying the bookkeeping chore would “take 200 years”. It sided with the government and Native Americans in their effort to block a lower court order for the tally for the money owed them.
The accounting was ordered some ten years ago by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth who is overseeing Blackfoot Indian Elouise Cobell’s class action lawsuit for the oil, gas, grazing timber and other royalties managed by the Department of Interior.
In their appeals, the government and plaintiffs have argued the massive accounting called for by Judge Lamberth would have cost up to $13 billion. The three-judge panel agreed, overturning the accounting and calling Lamberth’s decision “ill founded” and an abuse of discretion that was not favored by either side in the lawsuit.
Earlier this year, Cobell and the plaintiffs offered to settle the case for $27.5 billion. Senator John McCain, (R- Ariz) Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee said the amount is too high and never would be approved by Congress.
On November 15th, House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo, (R-Calif) filed a bill to resolve the case. His bill is a companion to one filed earlier this year by Senator McCain.
Neither bill specifies a settlement amount.
This article was edited for content and length from a November 16th Associated Press Story bylined Jennifer Talhelm.
Indians Mourn Passing of Native Right's Advocate
Vine Deloria Jr., best selling author, historian and spokesperson for Native American causes has died at the age of 72. He was a Yankton Sioux born in Martin South Dakota, the son of an Episcopalian minister. Deloria earned a master’s degree in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology in Rock Island, Illinois in 1963.
He was the author of more than 20 books but his first non-fiction on government relations, “Custer Died For Your Sins – an Indian manifesto” written in 1969 launched his career as an influential historian and spokesperson for Native American rights.
On reviewing the book for Best Sellers shortly after is was published, J. A. Phillips wrote that Deloria “asserts the worth if not the dignity of the red man and blasts political and religious forces that perpetuate the Little Big Horn and wigwam stereotyping of his people.”
Following the book’s publication, Deloria became the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. His leadership in lobbying in Congress, arguing for American Indian rights and issues plus written opinion pieces and other articles during his career established a change in the way society and the government viewed Indian policy.
Other books include: “We Talk You Listen”; “God is Red – a native view of religion”; “Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties”; “Red Earth-White Lies”; and “The Red Man in the New world Drama”
From 1990 to 2000, Deloria taught at the University of Colorado. He died in Denver on November 13th of complications from an aortic aneurysm.
This portion of the column was edited for length and content from a Los Angeles Times story in the November 15th issue of the Arizona Republic story bylined Myrna Oliver and The Internet Public Library.
Vine Deloria Jr. Passes Away
Submitted by Native Voter
Indian Country Today
November 14, 2005.
All Rights Reserved
by: Jim Adams/Indian Country Today
TUCSON, Ariz. - Vine Deloria Jr., the intellectual star of the American Indian renaissance,
passed on Nov. 13, after struggling for several weeks with declining health. His immeasurable influence became immediately apparent in an outpouring of tributes from all corners of Indian country.
''I cannot think of any words I could possibly say that even begin to capture the significance of this man and his work among Native people and on our behalf for the past half century,'' said Richard West Jr., director of the National Museum of the American Indian in a message to his staff.'
"He has been our ranking scholar and intellectual light for all of those years.
"The NMAI was only one of many Native institutions that Deloria made possible or deeply influenced during his 72 years. From the activist end of the spectrum, a tribute on the Colorado AIM Web site said, ''It is safe to say that without the example provided by the writing and the thinking of Vine Deloria Jr., there likely would have been no American Indian Movement, there would be no international indigenous peoples' movement as it exists today, and there would be little hope for the future of indigenous peoples in the Americas."
Deloria wrote more than 20 books, starting with his best seller ''Custer Died for your Sins'' in 1969. His powerful, acerbic criticism made a deep impression on the dominant culture as well as the activist movement then erupting on the scene. But he has an even longer career working behind the scenes of Native organizations.
He was drafted, as he put it, to be executive directorof the National Congress of American Indians in 1964. He was a founding trustee of the NMAI when it consisted of the Gustav Heye collection in New York City and helped guide its sale to the Smithsonian Institution. He was a major thinker for the movements for sacred land protection, for treaty rights and for the protection and repatriation of Indian remains.
In spite of his trenchant criticism of European Christianity, he also served for a time on the executive committee of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. He was the fourth generation descendant of theYankton Sioux prophet Saswe, and his father and grandfather were both prominent Episcopal churchmen.
TIME magazine once called Deloria one of the 10 most influential theologians of the 20th century. This March he received the second annual American Indian Visionary Award from Indian Country Today.
In a self-deprecating acceptance speech abounding in anecdotes and teasing humor, Deloria gave credit to the remarkable generation of leaders that it was his privilege to work with, beginning with his service atthe NCAI.
Deloria was born in 1933 in Martin, S.D., on the border of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Although his lineage was predominately Yankton Dakota, his grandfather Philip,an Episcopal priest, had enrolled the family in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where he was stationed.
Deloria served in the U.S. Marine Corps and received a master's degree from the Lutheran School of Theology in Rock Island, Ill. After his stint at the NCAI, he pursued an academic career, culminating in the position of professor of history at the University of Colorado.
He remained an incisive writer and social critic to the end. He refused an honorary degree from the University of Colorado because he disapproved of its performance during an athletic scandal. During his last year, he was at work on a major book on the miraculous deeds ofAmerican Indian medicine men.
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