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Hollow JusticeA History of Indigenous Claims in the United States$
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David E. Wilkins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300119268

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300119268.001.0001

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. The Cobell Trust Fund Litigation and Settlement

. The Cobell Trust Fund Litigation and Settlement

An “Accounting Coup”1

(p.142) 7. The Cobell Trust Fund Litigation and Settlement
Hollow Justice

David E. Wilkins

Yale University Press

The scope, length, and complexity of the June 2011 case Cobell v. Salazar mark it as a most extraordinary lawsuit, and the distinguishing factors are many. This chapter looks at the importance of this case and analyses why it was so massive and complicated. At the heart of this most complex litigation lay a central concept—the trust doctrine. The concept of trust is multifaceted and complex, encompassing a notion of federal responsibility to assist indigenous heritage through policy decisions and management actions that affirm the distinctive political, legal, and moral relationship between the federal government and indigenous nations as set forth in the US Constitution, diplomatic arrangements (i.e., treaties), statutes, executive orders, and court decisions. The trust doctrine, along with treaties and congressional plenary power, is a foundational concept underlying the relationship between Native nations and government.

Keywords:   Cobell v. Salazar, case, trust doctrine, federal responsibility, indigenous nations, treaties, government

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