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Credit due for Cobell

In reference to the article “Feds settle suit over mismanagement of Indian trust land” (Dec. 9 news story).

By settling an old, contentious lawsuit this week, Interior Secretary Salazar righted an important wrong and proved the federal government takes its responsibility to American Indians seriously.

As President Obama noted, this is only the government’s first step in renewing its commitment to work constructively with tribes in tackling the many challenges in Indian country today. By honoring that commitment, the Interior Department can ensure that tribal communities, their economies and vast natural resources are priorities we conserve and enhance.

The key parties to this settlement – lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, the other Indian plaintiffs and Secretary Salazar – all deserve credit for working tirelessly to resolve this longstanding issue in a manner that promises a new, positive direction in federal-tribal relations.

– Stephen C. Torbit, Ph.D.

Regional Executive Director National Wildlife Federation

Golden, Colo.