Tributes honor Native American
leader Elouise Cobell

Montana's News Station KRTV
October 17, 2011,

Elouise Cobell, who spearheaded a legal campaign that resulted in a historic multi-billion dollar settlement on behalf of Native Americans, died at the age of 65 on Sunday, and tributes are pouring in to mark her impact.

Governor Brian Schweitzer issued the following statement on Monday: "Elouise Cobell was an extraordinary Montana leader who had the fortitude to challenge an injustice that started more than one hundred years ago. Nancy and I are praying for her family and friends during this difficult time. The Blackfeet Nation and all of Montana have lost a true inspiration and hero."

U.S Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) says that Cobell was "truly a guiding light that will always lead the way for all Americans who fight for justice and fairness."

"Elouise's tireless leadership set this nation on a new course, and what she accomplished reminds us that any person in any part of this country has the power to stand up and right a wrong, no matter how difficult it may be," Tester said in a statement released by his office on Monday.

The release continued, "We join the Blackfeet Nation and all Montanans in mourning, honoring and celebrating the life of an extraordinary Montanan. Future generations will learn about Elouise Cobell's legacy and they will be inspired to follow her lead. She will always be remembered as an American hero."

U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) also released a statement on Cobell's passing, saying: "Eloise Cobell was a warrior for justice, a voice for the voiceless, and a dear friend. Our state and our country are better for having known her. Mel's and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family, her friends and all those who are still waiting to receive the justice Eloise dedicated herself to. Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Eloise, but we know her legacy will live on in all those inspired to carry on her work."

Baucus and Tester recently introduced legislation to award Cobell the Congressional Gold Medal.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said he was "deeply saddened by the loss of Elouise Cobell, who dedicated her life to the betterment of Indian people. She sought justice to address historical wrongs that had weighed on our nation's conscience and was a significant force for change.