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Elouise Cobell
7 November 2011

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes mourns the loss of a courageous and underappreciated heroine in Indian Country, Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet), who passed into the Spirit World October 16 at Great Falls, MT.

      Elouise became the leader in a long fight to force the government to account for more than a century of mismanaging tribal land. She died of complications from cancer at the age of 65.

AP File Photo/Evan Vucci

      As lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in 1996 against the U. S. Deptartment of Interior, her name is synonymous with Indian trust management reform. She was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, after years of working on the case and only a few weeks before a settlement was approved.

      Her legacy is that of a fighter who took-on the government bureaucracy for squandering the economic base of common tribal people living in dire poverty. She dedicated nearly two decades of her life to the cause, expended enormous amounts energy, and took the risk of loss, criticism and misunderstanding. In the end, her success will benefit Native people across the nation now and for many years to come. She was very much the Good Arrow true, fair and accurate in a just cause for Indian People.

      Our prayers go with her and our condolences to family and friends who knew her and loved her.

       David M. Gipp, President, United Tribes Technical College/United Tribes of North Dakota

“It’s a cruel irony that the woman who led the charge here all of those years does not live now to see the benefits.”

 – Byron Dorgan, former Senate Indian Affairs Committee chairman, commenting on the death of Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet), lead plaintiff in the Indian trust reform lawsuit against the government.


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