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In Remembrance of Elouise Cobell

The Washington Post
In Remembrance of Elouise Cobell, who passed from complications with cancer, Sunday, October 16, 2011, in Great Falls, Montana. She was 65. Elouise was born a great granddaughter of the famous leader Mountain Chief. She grew up with seven brothers and sisters on the Blackfeet reservation. Elouise was also a banker and a rancher. She served as a trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. Elouise was the lead plaintiff in the Indian Trust Settlement, and was a longtime champion of Indian rights. She dedicated the last fifteen years of her life to obtaining justice for Native Americans.

Asked what she wanted her legacy to be, Elouise Cobell said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press that she hoped she would inspire a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others and lift their community out of poverty. Cobell said, "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."

President Barack Obama released a statement that said Cobell's work provided a measure of justice to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, will give more people access to higher education, and will give tribes more control over their own lands. The statement continued: "Elouise helped to strengthen the government to government relationship with Indian Country, and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family and all those who mourn her passing."

Elouise is survived by her husband, Alvin; her only son, Turk, along with his wife Bobbie and their children Olivia and Gabriella; brother Dale Pepion; sisters Julene Kennerly, Joy Ketah and Karen Powell.

Elouise Cobell will be remembered as an extraordinary person as well as a warrior and uncommon leader. Elouise drew the line in the sand and told the government "no longer, no further, and no more." Against seemingly insurmountable odds, she never backed down in her selfless fight for justice for the most vulnerable people in this country and concluded this long-running case for the largest settlement involving the government in American history. A true hero is gone today and everyone should be thankful for her sacrifice and enduring spirit. We may never see the likes of her again. And, while Elouise did not live to see the fruits of her labor, she saw over the horizon to a better world for all individual Indians.

Please click on the links below to view tributes in memory of Elouise Cobell:

Dedication of Federal Court Hall

New federal courthouse dedicated

By Clair Johnson

More than 200 people, including ranking members of the federal judiciary and all of Montana's federal judges, gathered Tuesday in Billings to dedicate the state's newest federal courthouse on its signature rooftop garden patio.

"This is a new treasure for Montana. It's going to be wonderful for the city," said U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, of the District of Columbia and director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Calling the new $80 million courthouse that was designed and built in a record 27 months a remarkable achievement, Hogan said the courthouse is "here to provide equal justice to citizens."

The fourth-floor garden patio on the building's west side was inaugurated on Tuesday morning, accommodating a standing-room-only crowd that included Montana's federal judiciary, Ninth Circuit judges, court staff, contractors, architects, Department of Justice agency officials, local government representatives and other invited guests.

Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, who helped oversee the project, served as master of ceremonies.

Cebull thanked Montana U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats, for "making this courthouse a reality" by securing funding. "We are now here on a roof garden, believe it or not. Without these two senators, we wouldn't be here," he said.

Baucus also is working to pass a bill that would transfer the James F. Battin Federal Courthouse name from the old courthouse to the new courthouse.

The five-story courthouse at 2601 Second Ave. N., has three courtrooms and replaces the old courthouse, which has a history of asbestos problems and is scheduled to be sold at a public auction next spring.

A new $30 million federal office under construction at 2021 Fourth Ave. N., will house mostly Department of Interior agencies now located in the old courthouse.

Owned by the General Services Administration, the new courthouse was paid for with stimulus dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with $40 million going into the local economy and more than 60 percent of the work going to Montana businesses.

In addition to being outfitted with high-tech equipment, the 128,742-square-foot courthouse also is a green building designed to use 30 percent less energy than a typical building of the same size.

The courthouse was designed and built by Mortenson Construction, based in Minnesota, along with NBBJ, an architectural firm in Seattle.

Hogan noted the building's architecture as reflective of the Rimrocks and its design as curing problems found in older courthouses from security issues to having "a real grand jury room" not simply a remodeled office.

"We're going to treat the public a lot better as we should," Hogan said.

Hogan also gave special recognition to the new Elouise Cobell Hall and Jury Assembly room. Cobell was a Blackfeet tribal member whose 16-year court battle to hold federal government accountable for mismanaging land trust royalties for American Indians led to a $3.4 billion settlement for half a million American Indians in 2011. Cobell died shortly after the settlement. Hogan, who presided over the case and knew Cobell personally, called her "a remarkable woman."

To those who question spending $80 million on courthouse, Hogan said federal courthouses embody civil values and the rule of law. "This is a serious place meant to provide equal justice," he said. As such, the buildings should look like places of justice and, like museums or places of worship, should inspire awe and respect.

The new courthouse also could be one of the last built in the country for a while because federal funds are in short supply, Hogan said.

"We need courthouses worthy of doing justice," he said.

Read more




Personal Remembrances

Email Remembrances

Remembrance Comments dated October 17, 2011

From: Elda

We are so sorry to hear about Mrs. Cobell’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. Elouise will be remembered as a great Native American who stood up for the rights of our people; not many people have done this lately. Thank you so much, Elouise Cobell!

From: Freida

What a sad day for Indian Country. She fought a courageous fight both in terms of her cancer and for us.

From: Scott

My family and I wanted to pass our condolences on to all who knew and worked with Mrs. Elouise Cobell. A champion for the Native people and outstanding person, she will be missed.

We hope that the government will not back out now that she has passed. She worked too hard and long.


Scott and Debra

From: Johntommy

I send this in my sadness of her passing over. Please extend my sincere condolences to her family and tribe. She will be missed by many and I ask the creator of all things to honor her ways.

It was a pleasure and honor to assist her in the litigation, which was just a small part of the case. We all owe her - a great woman who didn't quit. And as the earth mother is being continually attacked we have to do all we can to defend and protect her, and never quit.

From: Jessica

I wish strength and peace for the family of Elouise Cobell. She is admired by me, and has been for many years. I will continue to follow her example and keep her work alive in every way possible.

hy'shqe siam


"When man does the Creator's job, it usually doesn't turn out right." La Duke

From: Phillip

Please accept my condolence from the Nez Perce Reservation and Northwest Indian College in Lapwai, Idaho, where I currently reside and teach. The court case is a landmark case that I still discuss in my classes and she will be missed by many of us in Indian country and pray for the family and friends of Elouise Cobell and may her journey be a good one.



From: Claudette

My condolences to Mrs. Cobell's family and prayers for peace and comfort during their loss.

As a professor of history, I share the Cobell case story with each of my classes. My purpose is to illuminate the issues that still besiege Indians and to help my students understand the complicated relationship of the tribes with the United States government. The sacrifices and preseverance of Elouise Cobell will not be forgotten

From: Shelli

To The Cobell Family,

Words cannot express the sympathy we feel for the loss of Mrs. Elouise Cobell. It was a shock to the entire legal community, and as a registered Native American judge, I can only imagine how you and your family members are feeling. We will truly miss her kind words of support and encouragement.

May God's blessings and peace be with you and your wonderful family.

With Love,


From: Karen

I just want to say that a strong and visionary woman has passed on. A woman who unselfishly struggled on over the past 12 years to bring some semblance of justice to the hundreds of Indians in Indian country. It is not the idea of money that was taken away from our elders that was the subject of the Cobell litigation and finally the settlement, but the fact that it was found that the United States commited such fraud against the Indians and that this case proves it, in black and white.

Elouise is now with those elders who have passed on and they are now honoring her for her bravery and perseverance in trying to obtain justice for their heirs.

My condolences to her family and may God comfort and strengthen them in this time of their loss.

From: Karen

I am not Native American, but I followed the lawsuit with great interest. Elouise's courage and determination are examples we should all try to emulate; she stood strong in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and persevered. She had a great heart, and I'm truly sad to hear that she has gone.

From: Rachel

To the family of Elouise:

I am deeply saddened of the news of her passing. Our deepest condolence to her family, friends and colleagues.

There is a great loss in the Native American Community in the passing of a great woman. She stood up for all of us in her fight for justice, equality and accountability. I looked forward to her emails telling of the fight, litigations, outcomes and encouragement not to give up on what is wrongfully going on with our lands and mismanagements of trust accounts. I appreciated all her sacrifices and time she gave to this injustice and keeping us all in the loop.

Thank you, Elouise, for what you have done and the differences you made in many Native American’s lives. May you rest in peace.

From: Stephen

Like so many leaders of great social movements, she had been to the mountain top and seen the promised land even though she did not make it there with her brothers and sisters of Native Americans.

Her Spirit rests in peace.

From: Linda

I was so shocked this morning to hear of the death of our crusader, Ms. Cobell. Her works will always be remembered and serve as an inspiration to me to go forward to try to improve the lives of my fellow Indians. Sincere sympathy to her family.

From: Pamela

I am stunned by this news of the passing of Elouise. When I was in law school, I served on the Indian Law Review and wrote my final paper on the issue of the settlement owed by the government to the tribes. I am saddened that this brave woman did not get to see all of her dedication and hard work come to full fruition. However, she did get everything in place so that others could move forward with this fight. This country and its Native Americans have lost a courageous and mighty leader. My condolences to her family and friends and godspeed to those who will continue her work.

From: Sadie

Ahehee' nitsaago t'aa' altsoh dine bika iinilwod-(Thank you very much for helping all people.) Family and friends of Elouise, my condolences to you. God Bless!

From: Phillip

Bill I cannot believe this. A great spirit, one of the greatest, passes, for she was not just the "bravest woman in America" but much more. We must talk. Please keep me posted on memorial/funeral arrangements.

Please convey my deepest condolences and thanks for her life and work to her family. We are all not just better enlightened but enriched by what she acheived. In the end, all you have in life is examples and she was one of the best.

From: Tara

Very sorry to hear. Good thoughts to the family. Thank you for your note.

Remembrance Comments dated October 18, 2011

From: Roxy

We are all saddened by the loss of such a Great Woman. She has made history for all Native people and will never be forgotten. Today is a sad day, but Elouise's bravery and strength will live on forever. Hail to the Chief Warrior!

Remembrance Comments dated October 19, 2011

From: Shelley

I would like to give my condolences to the family of Mrs. Cobell and to all that knew her. My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to her husband, son, and to brothers and sisters.

From: Susan

To the family of Elouise Cobell:

Your Wife, Mom, Sister and Grandmother came to visit the College of Menominee Nation in June, 2010 and what an inspiration she was. She wanted to do everything by herself. I tried to help her with her luggage, No, she would not have it. She was certainly a woman of strength, confidence and honesty. She carried herself with such dignity and she cared about who you were as an individual. I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend time with her. I looked at her in awe and wondered how she continued to fight for 15 years on behalf of so many people. Who was going to do this? WHO? Mrs. Cobell did and I will always remember her as one of my heroes!

Time To Fly Away by Robert Longley:

To soar and float and flutter
A gentle bird I'd be
To grace the clouded mountains
Or fly over the salted sea
No more tied to substance
That makes up whom we are
I stepped into the sunlight
And felt a gentle breeze
A soft and wistful moment
That was echoed in the trees
Each leaf at a shimmer
Each limb a dancing pose
A moment as beautiful
As a single long stem rose
And so it is this moment
This time that we have shared
A special bond between us
Knowing that you cared
As moments fade to memory
Again the bows will bend
And a gentle breeze will remind me
of my very special friend.

Elouise will always be a part of me and thanks for sharing your Mother.

Bless you and your family,


From: Susan

I was so sorry to hear about Ms. Cobell's passing. She is in a better place, however that is no consolation to the pain her loved ones must be feeling.

I never met her, but had hoped someday, somehow I would get to meet her. She was one of the bravest, strongest and loyal people I have ever heard of. I would like to thank the family on her behalf for all of her work, no matter how many struggles she endured. My prayers and thoughts to all of her family and friends.

Remembrance Comments dated October 20, 2011

From: S.E.

My name is S.E. and I wrote several stories for Native Times and Indian Country Today on the Cobell trial. I was remarkably saddened to hear of the passing of this Indian matriarch. I had the opportunity to interview her and I found her open, engaging and accessible, which are my favorite interviewee characteristics.

I ask that God Bless her and her family in this new time. Through her fortitude, thousands of Indians will have their lives bettered and touched by her selflessless. The best part about her life is that it was lived for many.

We live in dignity because of her,


From: Bea

I will miss this glorious woman whom I never knew. I was so proud of, and inspired by her. She saw injustice and decided, if no one else would step up, she would. It was the right woman, at the right time, for the right cause, and my heart swelled with pride to see her victorious. I am Choctaw and not one of the victims of the betrayal, but I cheered her on and asked that strength be given to her. I hope that her loved ones know that I am with them in spirit, and will honor her and them in my way!

From: Valarie

I was never given the chance to say THANK YOU to Elouise for her courageous, challenging, and determined fight against unfair acts by those who were supposed to be fiscally and ethically responsible to those who literally had NO VOICE.

I will tell my granddaughters about Elouise and the remarkable historical impact she made upon Native America. I will tell them about how she stood up and respectfully asked for explanations as to how this happened.

I will tell my granddaughter about how once she received all the answers -- or what could be assessed as answers -- she went forth and asked that a fair and reasonable compensation be set forth. She did not think of herself alone, or for her own tribal peoples, but she thought of others.

Because of her actions and many, many sleepless nights, and moments of frustration, many Native Americans will see some spark of justice and hopefully, will carry that forth in making our communities and tribes BETTER.

She never wavered. She stood tall and strong and purposefully went forth and proceeded with what she thought was right. That is a quality I hope my granddaughters imbue.

Logic and common sense were part of her person and bearing. I admire that. I could never completely tell my granddaughters the whole wonderful, amazing history of this truly honorable lady, but I will tell them what I know and I will tell them how grateful I am to know of the likes of her and her posterity.

May the Holy Beings, God the Father, Our Lord -- The Giver of Life be with you at this time and may Perpetual Light Shine Upon You All. When I think of Elouise, I will offer up a moment of quiet THANKS and gratitude for all the work she did on behalf of Native Peoples.

Respectfully submitted,


From: Rebecca

My condolences to Elouise Cobell’s family. What an inspiring women to fight this 15+ year battle with the government for what is right for many Native people and never let others discourage her from her goal for justice. She is a remarkable lady and a role model for many Natives to have the courage to move forward for what they believed in. Let us all learn from her bravery and have the drive and determination, we can all succeed in a positive way. Thank you Elouise for your struggles, strength, endurance and power of belief. You will always be remembered in our hearts and god bless you and your family.

From: Gilbert

The momentum generated by Ms. Elouise Cobell for the Indian Trust Fund Lawsuit benefited Taos Pueblo by being included as the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Settlement in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. I am personally grateful for the determined and patient leadership demonstrated by Ms. Cobell over the years that enabled hundreds of Indian people to gain a measure of justice through settlement of the trust claims along with settlement of water rights claims for several tribes, including Taos Pueblo.

We at Taos Pueblo fought for the return of Blue Lake for 64 years and for our water rights for over 40 years and understand the difficulties we face as Indian people in fighting for our rights. My prayers and personal condolences to the family who shared Ms. Cobell’s time that she gave, while being a mother, in confronting the federal government on the trust fund issue.

From: Laura

Our deepest condolences to the Cobell family, friends, acquaintances, associates...

She succeeded in Washington, D.C. for all of us Natives, she confronted issues at the top and no one can stand in her place or her shoes. She is an example for all Natives to follow, to learn from, to inspire from, to seek higher grounds when it comes to Washington, D.C. and to NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU NO, TO WAIT, WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU.

She leaves a Legend and a Legacy for ALL: the AMERICAN INDIAN.

As it is said, She did what she was put here for and now she has gone HOME.

From: Mary

My prayers are with everyone that has known Elouise. She an exceptional, honorable, caring, strong person. I feel so connected through her videos and speeches. Elouise, you have marked my life, never giving up attitude. Your courage and persistence will never be forgotten by many, many thousands and thousands of Native Americans. I wish I had the opportunity to have met you, Elouise.

Thank you so much for getting what is rightfully ours.
I Love You. oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
I will miss you. oxoxoxoxoxoxox

From: Lynn

My condolences go out to her family. She was a modern-day warrior for our people. As far as I am concerned she never backed down from the fight she led.

She stood tall, and proud when most of us would let go. Our voices got lost along the way, but she would not let her voice be forgotten. Elouise stayed strong for all our elders.

When I was younger my mother would wait on her check, which was only 40 dollars. My mother would buy as much food as they could with the money they received.

We as Native people were overlooked, but we can no longer let this happen. Elouise made sure of that.

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and much thanks for what Elouise contributed to our Native people.

She will always be remembered in our hearts. She fought the government and won. May her journey be well and her legacy not forgotten.

From: A.T.

Dear Family and Friends of Ms. Elouise Cobell,

We here at Fort Peck Tribes were truly sorry to hear of the loss of Ms. Elouise Cobell. On behalf of all of us here at the Fort Peck Tribes, I would like to extend my deepest symapthies to your family.

Ms. Cobell's devotion to her work and lifetime accomplishments will be an inspiration for generations to come. She will be remembered as a shining example for improving the lives of Native Americans everywhere.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

From: Kimberley

The earth and its Indians need more strong and dedicated warriors like Elouise Cobell; she will be missed but remembered like a song on the wind.

Remembrance Comments dated October 21, 2011

From: Phillip

Alvin, Turk and all family and friends:

No one knows better than you what a great heroine of not just native peoples everywhere on earth but of the unjustly treated everywhere you are now returning the very same earth. But her spirit is and will remain, not least where groups of people are gathered to wage the sort of battle against injustice she led so ably, determinedly and unstintingly as I am now. One of this continent's great First Peoples leaders once said that the soul that is afraid of dying, is the soul that was afraid to live. I have never met someone who so completely embodied that sentiment as Elouise. In the end, in life or death, all we who remain have are examples. Elouise was one of the best of them.

I, we, will try to live up to the massive challenge of treading in her huge footprints, here in Zuccotti Park and everywhere, anywhere, else where the struggle for justice continues.

Thinking of you all, and with you in spirit, today, tomorrow and in the weeks, months and years ahead in which, sometime, someplace, I hope we will meet.

From: Jody

Although I didn't know Elouise personally, I still feel she was a friend in that she cared about her native people and the wrong that had been done to them by the government. A strong proud native woman left us this week, and yet, I'm proud of her and her accomplishments and her deep love and care for all of us native people.

I hope our younger generations will learn of her and remember her strength inspite of the big obstacles she faced on this earth. She never weakened in her pursuit of justice for our people, and that is one character trait our ancestors of old were known for and respected. Let her life be an example for all native peoples.

My deepest condolences to her family and relatives especially tomorrow (Saturday) as they say their final earthly goodbyes. Rest in peace, Elouise.

From: Sandy

Our battlefields have gone indoors to the courtroom in this day and age. We owe her a debt we cannot pay for her courage and love for all Indian people. She set a shining example of courage and tenacity for us all. Bless you, Elouise.

Remembrance Comments dated October 22, 2011

From: Wes

My hope is that there are other women in Indian Country who recognize the spirit, courage and committment that Elouise made to all Indian people and the principles of fairness and honesty. Hopefully, these women will bring forth a new wave of trust, truth and strength. We must tell our children and grandchildren about Elouise and encourage them to conduct themselves in such a way that her memory and legacy will be honored. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to know her and share thoughts and ideas with her. Never before has anyone had the mind, heart and guts to go against the Federal government and prevail.

From: Henry

I have recently learned of the dedication and tireless work that Elouise has undertaken on behalf of American Natives. I was saddened to hear of her passing, and wish to convey sympathy to all her many friends and family.

Love, peace and respect to all.

New Eagle

Remembrance Comments dated October 23, 2011

From: Joy

I don't know what to say about the loss of Elouise Cobell. She will forever be a symbol of courage and determination for all peopole. I am an African American woman with Native American heritage, but my Native American heritage is too distant to trace. I followed the story of Elouise and the lawsuit, because her story was about fortitude and faith. Her determination to stay strong for her people touched my heart, and she is an inspiration for people of any ethnicity. I don't know if the history books will include Elouise Cobell, but I put her in the league of great people, like Martin Luther King, who fought for social justice against enormous obstacles. To the family of Elouise Cobell and to the The Cobell Litigation Team, I just want to say "thank you, thank you". Elouise Cobell's spirit will always remain with those who remember her contribution to the people, and especially the native peope, of this country.

God bless you!

From: Victoria

I am saddened by the passing of Elouise Cobell, she was a very brave soul. I am glad that our paths crossed that beautiful day in April of 2006 when I was able to join in with her and other supporters of the Cobell law suit as we marched from a U. S. Federal Court building to the National Museum of the American Indians, Washington, D. C.

Ms. Cobell established a historical legacy that is filled with American Indian honor, determination, and integrity. The torch she carried will burn forever.

Remembrance Comments dated October 24, 2011

From: Alice

I wish to email to honor the life and work of a great woman and courageous leader. May her work live on.

From: Billie

I would like to express my condolences for the loss of the great woman that was named Mrs. Elouise Cobell. She has been an inspiration to me as a woman who has had the strength and conviction to stand up for the rights of First Nations people. She is my hero and will live on in history, in my heart and many other native people’s hearts for many years to come. She was put on this earth to make all of our lives better and she accomplished what she set out to do....Thank You Elouise.

Remembrance Comments dated October 25, 2011

From: Karen

Thank you so much Elouise for your strength, persistance and your true guidence...and fight for all of our people...My sympathy for your family and you. God has taken an angel with him and her fight is done. May you find peace.

From: Shaw-Lee

Condolences to Mrs. Cobell's family. We've physically lost a very special human being but not spiritually--she's still with us in our hearts. She sought justice for us Indians and suffered the anguish of a hard fight, but her perseverance withstood all and won. Mrs. Cobell provided a lessen of fortitude, love and passion for her beliefs for us to draw strength from, which we must do to show her our thanks.

Remembrance Comments dated October 26, 2011

From: Audrey

From Bemidji, Minnesota. First of all, thank you to Ms. Cobell for her tireless working for the Native Americans of this world. If not for her, none of us would ever see any kind of retribution from the U.S Government in regard to our land and/or monetary settlement(s). My sincere prayers go out to Elouise’s husband and all family members. May the great spirit be with you all.

From: Sylvia

Our condolences to the Cobell and Pepion family during your time of loss. Elouise is with the great spirit and she will always remain forever in our hearts.

From: Emerson

In a lifetime, someone comes your way to reach out and makes a huge difference that will shine forever in your life and this is Elouise, who will forever shine in the livelihood of the entire Indian Nation...thank you Elouise for standing up to the Government - you are a true warrior.

From: Sherry

Thanks Elouise
Our path has been paved. We now must all stand together as one and fight for what is rightfully ours and our children’s. Thanks to her for being such a wonderful leader and making it better for us. Now we must hold our heads high. And keep what was gracefully started for our people and Move on for generations to come.

From: Laura

I send my respect for a woman whose spirit we will miss; a voice for our people. I pray that there are more people like you in this time where we all need to stand up for our native people. I will attend to this and much more in your name. PEACE to you.

Remembrance Comments dated October 27, 2011

From: Gwen

I was very shocked to hear of Elouise’s passing. I will keep her family in my prayers and let them know how much of an inspiration she was and is. For one woman to fight for what she believed is extraordinary; not just for being native and a woman but for who she was and what she fought for. Although I have never met her she is an inspiration to many of us and we will continue to have a voice and fight for what we believe.

You will be missed Elouise.

My thoughts and prayers sent


From: Marie

I want to say thank you to Elouise for all that she did for the Indian populace. It was a long and hard struggle for her to reach this settlement and I want her family to realize we are very appreciative. I am remembering her in prayer today. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to the family.

In appreciation,


From: Two Bears Growling Buffalo's Thunder of the Cherokee & Choctaw Nations

I was so saddened to hear our sister from the Blackfeet Nation, Yellow Bird Woman, had lost her battle with cancer. She gave so unselfishly to all of us who are of the many Indian Nations across the USA when she took up a cause for all our many peoples. She gave of her time, her money & her talents. Farewell Yellow Bird Woman as you went to be with the ancestors. Thank you for all you did for all the many people of the many Indian Nations across the USA.

Kind Regards,

Two Bears Growling Buffalo's Thunder of the Cherokee & Choctaw Nations

From: Mia

Thank you from my heart Eloise Cobell. You have served your brothers and sisters on this earth in the most honorable way, you thought of our children and fought for their pride and for their rights and tried to give them hope for a better day where we all can be more than what we were born into.

You showed them sister, you showed them all.

With much love and gratitude


Remembrance Comments dated October 28, 2011

From: Debbie

Ahe’hee – Thank you, Elouise!

You definitely are an angel to the native people. Your tireless efforts to bring justice to the Native American tribes is a beautiful testament to the wonderful person you are.

You will never be forgotten!! Thank you for caring and not giving up!

From: Laura

I thank you for your brave battles. I am in awe of your courage. I appreciate all that you have done and I admire your strength. Rest in peace and may god hold you in the palm of his hand.

Remembrance Comments dated October 29, 2011

From: Priscilla

I salute this strong woman. She stood up for us and was a champion. The best words I have are THANK YOU.

From: Schuh

Our deepest heartfelt sympathies for the loss of your wife, mother, and grandmother. Her battle for all of us will never be forgotten. She is up there among the great warriors of in our history. She fought for many that we could have something. What a wonderful person and it is so sad that we could not express this to her when she was with us. But please know that we are deeply saddened by her passing because we know she was a good woman and a role model which we hope our children and grandchildren will follow.

She was welcomed into the next life with open arms and song of our people on the other side. What a wonderful reception she received! A warrior coming home…

I am sure you heard this from so many people, but know that each message was heartfelt and sincere.

On behalf of all of the Lakota people on Pine Ridge who do not have the means to communicate, I send my sympathy and know that she will be remembered for the brave wonderful woman that she was.

God bless all of you and touch the sadness in your hearts.

I want you to know that many of the people who would receive the payment have said they will be buying propane and necessities. So know that she will be keeping many of her people warm and having money to pay their light bills. Indirectly she will be in many homes across the reservations – and helping many of the poor who are heirs to the original land owners.

She earned a great reward for helping so many Native people. Thank you for this wonderful woman.

I am not great with words, but I said it the best I can.

Remembrance Comments dated October 30, 2011

From: Denise

My Deepest Condolences to the family of A TRUE WARRIOR: Ms. Elouise Cobell.

From: Debra

We are so sorry to hear of her passing. She was a great woman, and fought to help so many others.

Magic is believing in yourself;
if you can do that, you can make
anything happen.

Remembrance Comments dated October 31, 2011

From: Stephon

My condolences go out to the family, friends and all those that benefited now and in the future from the heroic efforts of Elouise Cobell's pursuit for justice. I'm honored to have met her through working on the "Cobell vs. USA" documentary and am dedicated to seeing it through fruition and sharing her story with the world!



From: Diane

Elouise Cobell's heroic battle, steadfastness and loyalty are an inspiration. Thank you for being who you were and stepping into action with commitment and love. Thank you for honoring your people and your ancestors and, in doing so, honoring all.

My thoughts and prayers are with her husband and son and all those who knew and loved her.

With love and gratitude


Remembrance Comments dated November 1, 2011

From: Aaniin

May we find our spirits growing stronger because of her struggle for us. Bless her family for sharing her strength with our people. May she watch over us until we can again stand as one people for our land and spirit.

Remembrance Comments dated November 3, 2011

From: Jessica

I would like to give my condolences to the Family of Elouise Cobell. I am very thankful and humbled by her dedication and fight for us Native Americans, so that we may have justice. Pilamiya (Thank you) and God bless.

Remembrance Comments dated November 4, 2011

From: Fort Hall Credit Department

Please give the family of Elouise Cobell our deepest sympathy and that our prayers are with them.

Remembrance Comments dated November 11, 2011

From: Judy

A tribal leader now sits at the table set for her by her ancestors and her future children. May her place be of honor and respect. May all of us who remain behind find the same courage to teach our native ways to future generations with or without the money.

In peace may your spirit rest.

Remembrance Comments dated November 12, 2011

From: Dawn

God bless Elouise for her strength, courage and skills to correct a major injustice toward all Native land owners. My heart is saddened to hear of her passing. She possessed dignity and cared for the land. All of Indian country will mourn this great lady. My sincere sympathy is extended toward her family, and nation. It is a very sad day that we have lost this great lady.

Remembrance Comments dated November 18, 2011

From: Sherma

I send heartfelt sentiments to the family of Elouise Cobell and am grateful for her powerful contributions to Native Americans.

Remembrance Comments dated November 25, 2011

From: Yolanda

My condolences go to the family of Elouise Cobell. I am truly saddened by her passing. I am grateful for her fighting all those years for us Native Americans. I am so sorry for your loss, but know you had a great woman for a mother, sister and wife. She will be remembered always.



Remembrance Comments dated November 29, 2011

From: Ercel

I just want to say Elouise Cobell was a very outstanding woman. She has given me hope and faith and verified my knowledge that women are strong in endurance and beliefs. She did that for us American Indian people and she is the only one that had the courage to fight.

Remembrance Comments dated December 6, 2011

From: Maxine

My sincere condolences go out to this beautiful, strong lady. She helped our seniors who are no longer here to thank her. Although they are not able to be here with us today, her memories will be a treasure to speak of and passed on to the younger generation. She will not be forgotten.

Remembrance Comments dated December 15, 2011

From: Leilani

I would like to express my condolences for the loss of a great lady, one that did not give up, and made a difference for all Native American Indians.

May the Lord bless Elouise Cobell and all who follow in her shoes. When my grandchildren are ready to go to college we will be sure to apply for the scholarship fund through her name!

From: Sarah

Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of Elouise. The country has lost an exceptional person.

Elouise had an extraordinarily big heart and her tireless efforts on behalf of Native Americans continue to inspire me. I think of her often.

My sincere condolences to the family at Blacktail Ranch.

Remembrance Comments dated January 10, 2012

From: Melissa

I thank you for all you have done. Your energy and insight was inspiring to all. May your path with those who have gone before you be full of bounty and joy, and much needed rest for your weary bones. Thank you for being a great warrior.

Remembrance Comments dated February 9, 2012

From: Anna

I just want to personally thank you for fighting for all of our rights as Native People. There is just not enough gratitude that we can give for all your strong persistence in fighting for what is rightfully ours. Thank you, thank you and thank you. May all the angels surround you!

Remembrance Comments dated February 10, 2012

From: Brandy

Oh Siam, Elouise. Thank you in our language (Nooksack Native). I want to thank you for all you did each day for 16 years. I just hope to be half the woman you have been the last 16 years, helping all of us the way you have so unselfishly and with a big heart. I want to thank you and each of your family members for the time they shared you with us. THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART! God bless you as you go on your journey. I realize that even though we didn't know you personally, but I know that wherever you are you are on your right path. You are an outstandingly strong-spirited woman. You will always be my inspiration. THANK YOU!

Remembrance Comments dated February 11, 2012

From: Tami

I am very grateful for what Elouise fought for. Although the award money will not restore everything, it helps to heal our hearts knowing there are people, Natives, willing to fight for the greater good.

As my grandfather use to say, we must all unite to fight. All the tribes within the USA must stand together and fight for our future; the future of our children.

I just could not thank you all enough; you all must have given up time with her while she was fighting this huge battle, the battle for her life and for all of us Natives. I thank you.

Remembrance Comments dated February 15, 2012

From: Bryan

If anyone's passing could be an inspiration to search for and find their purpose, your strength, determination and foresight has inspired me to find my place in the fight for our people. My generation of middle aged Indians are searching for heroes and leaders, and your love for our people is an enlightened one that will shine forever in our hearts and minds. I thank you from my heart and from the hearts of my family who have yet to find their voice. May your spirit continue to touch us in the afterlife. Rest in peace my sister.

Remembrance Comments dated March 2, 2012

From: Kathleen

I certainly send my condolences to all her family and friends, to the Blackfoot Tribe, to her associates, and to all of us who are in her debt through her efforts on our behalf. It is truly unfortunate she was not with us to rejoice in her efforts. The entire world is a better place because she passed through here on her way to a better place.

Remembrance Comments dated March 16, 2012

From: Albert & Lisa

My sincere condolences to the loved ones and friends of such an amazing lady. My thoughts and prayers go out to all you. There are no words to fully express how grateful I am.

Remembrance Comments dated March 18, 2012

From: Donna

So sorry to hear Elouise has passed on to the happy hunting grounds.

Remembrance Comments dated March 19, 2012

From: Thomas

Thoughts & prayers & strength from our family to yours.

President Barack Obama Remembers Elouise Cobell

October 27, 2011

With the passing of Elouise Cobell, a proud member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, we have lost a champion of Native American rights. Her persistent and determined leadership in the pursuit of justice for Native Americans will leave an enduring legacy.

As treasurer of the Blackfeet Nation, Elouise spoke out when she saw that the federal government had failed to account for billions of dollars that it owed to hundreds of thousands of her fellow Native Americans. In 1996, she filed suit, and for 15 years, tirelessly led a legal battle, with seven trials, 10 appeals, and dozens of published decisions. She fought her battle not just in the courts, but in the halls of Congress before finally securing justice for more than 300,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives in the form of a $3.4 billion settlement.

The agreement reached in Cobell v. Salazar marked the largest government class-action settlement in our nation’s history. The scholarship fund this settlement established will give more Native Americans access to higher education. Tribes will have more control over their own lands. Elouise’s tireless efforts strengthened the government-to-government relationship with Indian country, and a generation of Native Americans and all Americans has seen the promise of justice realized.

Last December, I had the privilege to meet with Elouise in the Oval Office prior to signing into law a bill to make things right. The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 is a direct result of the settlement that bears her name. It is proof of an enduring American idea – that change is always possible.

But change is never easy. It doesn’t come overnight. In this case, it took 15 years. For 15 long years, despite obstacles and setbacks, Elouise Cobell pressed on with a defiant yet humble refusal to accept the world as it is, and a quiet determination to reach for the world as it ought to be.

“I never started this case with any intentions of being a hero,” she said. “I just wanted this case to give justice to people that didn’t have it.”

In the face of daunting odds, Elouise remained driven by the belief that America is a place where tomorrow can be better than today – and convinced that this is a country where hard work and great resolve can make a difference.

That is what makes this country special. Even when we haven’t always lived up to our highest ideals, we know we can right a wrong; even if we enjoy certain rights, we know are not truly equal until everybody enjoys those rights; even if we are doing well, we know we have a responsibility to leave a better future for our children, and the obligation to try.

That is what Elouise Cobell did. We mourn her passing, thank her for the legacy she left behind, and commit ourselves to that same passionate pursuit of a more perfect union.

Condolences and remembrances may be sent via email to

Please note that any emails sent may be used on this the official Settlement Website,, and that Class Counsel reserve the right to modify, alter, amend or delete any submissions, as appropriate, prior to posting.

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