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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Native American Lawsuit Settlement was probably well deserved, but it does raise some interesting questions in regards to the 2008 democratic race.

I actually took some time to study the Democratic Montana Primary vote last year. There were a couple of tribal voting precincts that were remarkably in favor of Barack Obama, the percentages were like 80 and 90% for Barack Obama in a couple of the larger native american voting blocks.

A tribal lawsuit against the government was just settled and a 3 billion dollars has been successfully litigated by attorney's representing Eloise Cobell from the Blackfeet tribe of Montana.

The federal lawsuit was first filed in 1996 so Ms. Cobell did persevere for over 12 years. Was this one of those quid pro quo situations? Ms. Cobell's tribe helps Barack Obama win in the Montana primary, and then this lawsuit gets settled? And if so, would that be considered controversial, or just good politicking by Barack Obama?

I recall the Montana primary was the same day as South Dakota and that Hillary Clinton easily won in South Dakota. If Barack Obama had not won Montana, it would have looked really bad for him as Hillary Clinton was already winning at a 54% rate over the final 10 weeks of the contest. I also recall that in general the race was close, except for a couple of Indian Reservations that were HEAVILY in favor of Barack Obama.

As Ms. Cobell aptly pointed out, everyday Native Americans are dying without ever seeing any payout for the apparently shoddy book keeping over the past 100 hundred years by the United States government. Apparently Native American trust fund money never reached was paid out to Indians and getting some of that money immediately was more important than an apology, and a still longer wait for a financial settlement.

I wonder why Bill Clinton and George Bush let this Native American lawsuit fester for so long when most people would probably agree that the lawsuit probably had some merit to it. I wonder why Bill Clinton's people didn't give Hillary Clinton a heads up about such an important lawsuit so she would have a reason to either campaign in Montana or at least send a letter of support for the lawsuit.

Imagine if Hillary Clinton had won both Montana and South Dakota so late in the primary, that might have really put a very public question mark on who should have been the democratic nominee.

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