Elouise Cobell, a tireless advocate for the Blackfeet Nation and for tribal and rural communities across the country, passed away October 16, 2011, in Great Falls, Montana.
Elouise took on the whole federal government to set right the long term, systematic pilfering of mineral rights and royalties across Indian country.
In 2009 the federal government settled the case with a $3.4 billion payment, the largest government class-action settlement in U.S. history. The payment will benefit approximately 500,000 people.
Elouise was named a rural hero at the first National Rural Assembly, and returned to the 2008 Gathering to speak herrural truth to power, illustrating the courage and perseverance she was known for:
“When you say it can’t be done, we will never give up. You’re broken system is no excuse for ignoring my rural America.”
Elouise was the best kind of fighter. She could appreciate the size of the challenge, brush off setbacks time and again, and still find the heart to win against long odds.
She will be missed.
Elouise was remembered by her friend Carol Cross Juneau in a recent 'Living on Earth' segment. Listen to it here.