Archives for June 2008

JUDGE HOPES TO RULE BY MID-JULY IN INDIAN TRUST CASE

Reposted from: http://www.indiantrust.com

WASHINGTON, JUNE 19 — U.S. District Judge James Robertson said today he hopes to issue a ruling by mid-July on how much money Indian Trust beneficiaries failed to received as a result of the government’s mismanagement of their money.

The judge made his announcement shortly before noon after the government concluded its evidence at a eight-day trial on the issue.

The trial will resume Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. when lawyers for the Indian plaintiffs present a final rebuttal witness in the proceeding.

Lawyers for both the Indians and the government then will present closing arguments.
Judge Robertson said both sides will be asked to submit written briefs outlining recommendations for his ruling.

The judge has stated previously that he hopes this proceeding will be the final trial in the 12-year-old class action lawsuit. It was filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Indian from Montana, over trust accounts that the federal government established for an estimated 500,000 Native Americans.

Lawyers for the Indians have said that the government owes the Indians $58 billion as a result of its use of Indian money since the trust was established in 1887. The government is contesting those figures, arguing that the Indians lost no more than $158 million over the 121 years that the trust has been in operation.

contact: Bill McAllister 703 385-6996

2008 Pine Ridge Study Tour Lays Solid Foundation


Above: Participants to the first annual Pine Ridge Study Tour.

This was the first year that we offered a “study tour” experience on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and I am happy to say that it has a laid a solid foundation for future tours organized by Village Earth.

The tour visited community-based development projects supported by Village Earth related to land tenure, buffalo restoration, and the empowerment of traditional cultural organizations. Each day the participants were visited a different site or project on the reservation with interpretation from local Lakota guides. There purpose of the tour was to explore and test the potential for community-based tourism geared towards educating tourists on both the historical and current realities of the Reservation and Federal Indian policy from a Lakota perspective but also to see and learn about the constructive ways groups on the Reservation are trying to transform it.

We made every effort, during the week long tour, to ensure that as much money as possible from the tour went directly to Lakota businesses and families on the reservation by staying at the Lakota run “Odd Duck Inn” run by Mark St. Pierre and Tilda Long Soldier, we hired all local guides, and hired local families to cook meals for the group. Plus, the participants purchased most of their crafts directly from producers across the Reservation. Plus, the participants got access to a side of the reservation that few people have the privledge to experience. In all it was a great succes and we look forward to hosting another tour next year.

If you have a group that is interested in organizing a similiar tour you can contact David Bartecchi.