Funeral set for Native American activist Cobell

October 21, 2011 - 3:25 PM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A funeral service will be held Saturday in Montana for the Blackfeet woman who led a 15-year legal fight to recover billions of dollars owed to American Indian landowners by the federal government.

Family spokesman Bill McAllister says the funeral for Elouise Cobell will be held at 11 a.m. at the high school in Browning, followed by a burial at Cobell's Blacktail Ranch.

The family also will hold a viewing Friday at 5 p.m. in the high school's gymnasium.

Cobell died Sunday in Great Falls from complications due to cancer.

She was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed in 1996 that claimed the Interior Department had misspent, lost or stolen billions of dollars meant for Native American land trust account holders dating back to the 1880s.

A $3.4 billion settlement was approved earlier this year, but appeals of the agreement are pending.