“I never started this case with any intentions of being a hero. I just wanted this case to give justice to people that didn’t have it.” – Elouise Cobell, aboutCobell v. Salazar2011
Tribal elder, activist, rancher, banker, also known as Yellow Bird Woman. Treasurer for Blackfeet Nation. Founder, Blackfeet National Bank (now, Native American Bank), the first national bank located on an Indian reservation and owned by a Native American tribe, 1987. Filed a class-action lawsuit Cobell v. Salazar against the United States Department of Interior for the mismanagement of Indian Trust Funds belonging to more than 500,000 individual Native Americans, 1996. Settlement ($3.4 billion) was reached in 2009; she died before receiving any of the funds. Posthumously awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Barack Obama, 2016. Inducted into the National Native American Hall of Fame, 2018. Subject of documentary, 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice, 2016.
Photo. Elouise Cobell and President Barack Obama, Oval Office, 2010.