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‘Settlement fixes nothing’

First, I would like to thank Ms. Elouise Cobell for the strength and courage to fight the U.S. on our behalf for the past 13 years.

This proposed settlement fixes nothing; the U.S. won by legal weaseling. This lawsuit may be settled, but the mismanagement and corruption continues. The centuries-old broken government trust is still broken. The IIM accounts are still not reconciled. Some IIM account holders will get paid and some will not. The Cobell case and numerous investigations on DOI/BIA/OST by OIG, GAO and the courts that proved numerous times they are either unwilling or unable to fix their broken trust. They went unpunished and will continue to operate into the future as if nothing happened. As if Indian Affairs has not been “commissioned” to death, this settlement adds another one.

The historical damage done to Native people, their land and money goes unchecked and without consequence. Not one employee faced criminal charges, was removed or fired for deliberately wasting billions in taxpayer’s dollars in cover up schemes.

After 141 years and commissions, this proposed settlement still does not protect our land, money, fleecing or our natural resources and culture, but promotes tribal sovereignty erosion and U.S. failure to enforce treaty rights and their federal trust responsibilities according to their own U.S. Constitution and congressional obligations.

The U.S. can send a man to the moon, travel to the bottom of the deepest ocean, fight wars on opposite sides of the world, and clone animals but cannot fix the broken trust problem with Indian services.

If the U.S. initially worked with earnest and full trust with Native nations using their own money plus the promised federal appropriations, there would not be a financial burden on either party, national dishonesty or worldwide disgrace of American ideals.

It has been settled for me to forget all that happened within DOI and accept the $1,500 minus reserves/taxes and attorney fees as if nothing happened.

– Thomas M. Wabnum

Prairie Band Potawatomi

IIM account holder

Former Tribal Councilperson

Vietnam Veteran

BIA/OST retired