March 15, 2002

For Further Information Contact: John Echohawk, (303) 447-8760

 

A MATTER OF TRUST: THE CASE OF COBELL v. NORTON SYMPOSIUM, GONZAGA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, MARCH 26, 2002

The highly-publicized class action suit filed by Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, versus Gail Norton, Secretary, Department of the Interior, alleges the squandering of billions of dollars of lease, royalty, and other payments due individual Indian land owners for use of their lands. United States District Court Judge Royce Lamberth found that the Department of the Interior breached its fiduciary duties by its massive and long-standing mismanagement of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) Account system. Recently, the Court conducted contempt proceedings focusing upon the actions of the Defendants.

Elouise Cobell tells her story and describes the events leading to the filing of the Class Action and her experiences during the litigation. Plaintiffs lead attorney, Dennis M. Gingold, Washington, D.C., a nationally recognized banking attorney, presents the Plaintiffs case, discusses the elements of the contempt proceedings, and projects the future prospects for the litigation effort.

A panel of experts debate questions of justice, ethics, and discernment for attorneys and citizens alike that arise from the case. Fr. Dan Powers, SJ moderates the group discussion that includes the views of the Honorable Sandra K. Watts, a judge dealing with Indian probates, and Fr. David Myers, SJ, experienced with issues affecting the Tribal members in Arizona.

Dennis M. Gingold concludes the program by describing the requested remedy: the appointment of a receivership for a full accounting of the individual Indian trust accounts for over 500,000 beneficiaries; and the creation of a trust management system that protects the trust funds of the individual Indian beneficiaries.

The Symposium is free to the public and will be held at Gonzaga University Law School, 721 N. Cincinnati, Spokane, Washington, in the Barbieri Courtroom from 9:00 a.m.4:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 26, 2002. Attorneys desiring CLE credit must register by 5:00 p.m., March twenty-first.

For further information, please contact Bonnie White, Gonzaga University School of Law, at 509-323-5791.