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Elouise Cobell, American Indian Rights Activist

Growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation in northwestern Montana, Elouise Cobell wondered about the government checks that sometimes came—and sometimes didn't. The money was supposed to be paid out to the owners of private lands held in trust for American Indians since 1887 and managed by the Department of the Interior. Yet, though the government leased those lands to timber, mining, and oil companies, the revenue seldom made it back to the lands' owners. "You go to any Indian community and say, 'What's wrong with this picture?' " says Cobell, 61. "These people have oil wells pumping on their land, but they're living in shacks." … Back to Article

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