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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Eloise Cobell explains trust case to RMN

The RMN editorialCommon Sense on Indian Trust provoked Eloise Cobell to write a column, explaining the history of the trust case, which the RMN apparently didn't understand in the first place.

Common Sense on Indian Trust
November 21, 2005
Judge Royce Lamberth of the D.C. District Court has got a thing about the U.S. Interior Department. Basically, he despises it. His emotions are so out of control, in fact, that earlier this year he blasted it as "the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and Anglocentrism we thought we had left behind."
It's hardly surprising, given such bile, that Lamberth has become an obstacle to timely resolution of a lawsuit over Indian trust accounts that dates back to 1996, imposing wholly unreasonable demands on the government.

Last week, fortunately, Lamberth got a bit of his own rhetorical medicine. A federal appeals court sharply rebuked him for trying for a second time to impose his own irrationally expensive views of how Interior should account for money in trust accounts dating back to the 1880s Full editorial.

Eloise Cobell's response
Obdurate government hurts Indians

n its haste to condemn U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth for his anger over the government's deception, stonewalling, document destruction and witness intimidation in our 10-year-long lawsuit, the News overlooked a crucial conclusion in the Nov. 15 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that helps explain Lamberth's frustration with the government ("Common sense on Indian trusts," Nov. 21).
"It is not disputed," the court held, "that the government failed to be a diligent trustee. In the two decades leading up to the plaintiffs' initiation of their lawsuit, report after report excoriated the government's management of the IIM (Individual Indian Money) trust funds."

That is one of the reasons Lamberth has been so exasperated at the government's foot-dragging and litigation misconduct. Notably, the Court of Appeals went out of its way to emphasize that the Department of Interior as an institution cannot, in any way, be exonerated given the pervasive "malfeasance" that the appellate court previously has cited in the management of the Individual Indian Trust.

In its earlier rulings the Court of Appeals unanimously has declared that the government owes us a complete and accurate accounting of all our trust funds that the government has collected since 1887, including all imputed income and interest. The government admits that it collected at least $13 billion but cannot account for the collections nor the interest accruing each day on these funds. This is our property and our property right just as your car, your house, and your bank accounts are your property, property that the government cannot take from you. full column


At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Steven Martinovich said...

Having failed to discover the September 11 plot ahead of time despite the fact that the government had the information necessary, federal officials argued they needed more even power to prevent future attacks.
Americans are now considered potential collaborators instead of potential victims. To add insult to injury, Americans are no safer today then they were before the terrorist attacks.
Financial and military aid is sent to morally questionable nations and citizens across the planet have become less free as a result of the war and the American taxpayer has the privilege of paying the bill.
By declaring terrorism to be the greatest evil, writes Bovard, Bush has made murders by government "morally negligible." With American aid to some of these governments the death toll due to state murder can only grow.
it's difficult to believe that with few exceptions the battle against terrorism is entirely dominated by incompetence and malfeasance.
Terrorism and Tyranny
Trampling Freedom, Justice, and Peace to Rid the World of Evil
By James Bovard
Palgrave Macmillan
HC, 440 pg. US$26.95/C$39.95


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