December 09, 2010

Cobell settlement is no victory

Cobell is no victoryHow can you morally bolster the Cobell settlement as any sort of victory in Native-United States relations? Do you feel no responsibility to this publication’s Native and non-Native readers?

Cobell, after 14 years of perseverance, is exhausted and due to her $15 million benefit from this case is severely biased when claiming that this will remove any sort of stain on the “national honor.” This settlement is a clear and utter abomination upon the definition and ideal of the American justice system.

You inserted quotation after quotation by senators and government officials that claim this is a fair settlement. How is any of it fair? How is it fair that the government does not have to be held accountable and admit the full amount of money that they have stolen from the individuals based upon the fact that they simply don’t want to? How is it fair that this same government acts as the defendant in the case and at the same time has the right to remove a judge when they don’t like his moral and ethical determinations? What other person accused of a crime would ever be allowed to do this?

This entire case boils down to the cliché of history repeating itself, the government yet again committing degradations and making up the rules to fit their agenda and Native peoples being left with no other choice than accepting whatever the offer no matter how minuscule. How is seven cents on the dollar a fair offer? Whose life will that change? In exchange for over 100 years of clear and distinct robbery the government is willing to offer an amount of money that won’t even last a month. [NCAI President] Jefferson Keel is wrong to state that this will somehow “settle historic injustices” or that this is an example of the government “meeting its obligations.” This is NOT bringing a close to an unfortunate chapter in American history, this is NOT a “fair deal,” this is NOT a “significant historic achievement,” this is NOT “honorable” or “responsible,” this is NOT “a major step forward,” this is NOT “victory for justice!”

Jen Bloom
Native American Studies Major
Bemidji State University
Bemidji, Minn.
Comment:  Interesting that Bloom criticized Indian Country Today for its previous article on the Cobell settlement. And interesting that ICT published this criticism.

Also interesting that one event can generate such divergent opinions. To some, settling the lawsuit after 15 years is a monumental achievement. To others, getting only a fraction of what they were owed is a monumental failure.

For more on the subject, see Cobell Settlement Unsettles Indians and Why the Cobell Plaintiffs Settled.

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