Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit Cobell v. Salazar, is recovering from cancer surgery. She received an operation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on April 22.
“It was a serious cancer and it was discovered quickly, and fortunately the Mayo Clinic did a good job,” she told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “The doctor said it (the surgery) was 99 percent successful.”
Cobell, 65, declined to give details about the cancer, noting she only recently found out about the illness. She told the AP she will have to undergo chemotherapy.
Cobell is regaining her strength at her son’s home in Las Vegas before returning to Montana.
The Blackfeet woman led a 15-year legal battle to reclaim Indian land royalties mismanaged by the federal government. The Indian trust fund lawsuit concluded on December 8, 2010, when President Barack Obama authorized a $3.4 billion settlement.
Cobell also serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Native American Community Development Corporation, which works to advance sustainable economic development in Indian Country.