Text: S.1514 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (09/06/2011)

1st Session
S. 1514

To authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Elouise Pepion Cobell, in recognition of her outstanding and enduring contributions to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and the Nation through her tireless pursuit of justice.


September 6, 2011

Mr. Tester (for himself, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Akaka, and Mr. Inouye) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs


To authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Elouise Pepion Cobell, in recognition of her outstanding and enduring contributions to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and the Nation through her tireless pursuit of justice.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Findings.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) Elouise Pepion Cobell was born on the Blackfeet Reservation on November 5, 1945, with the Indian name “Little Bird Woman”.

(2) Elouise Cobell is a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation and the great-granddaughter of Mountain Chief, a legendary Indian leader.

(3) In 1996, Elouise Cobell filed an historic lawsuit against the Federal Government, seeking justice for the Government’s failure to account for billions of dollars received in trust by the United States for the benefit of 500,000 individual Indians.

(4) Throughout the prosecution of the suit that bears her name, Elouise Cobell led the charge against governmental malfeasance, and displayed unyielding resilience in her pursuit of justice for this Nation’s most vulnerable population.

(5) After a more than 15-year, tenacious fight with the Government, Elouise Cobell agreed to settle the lawsuit in December 2009 for $3,400,000,000, making it the largest settlement with the Government in American History.

(6) Education of young people has long been a priority for Elouise Cobell. To provide educational opportunities for Indian children, Elouise Cobell created, as part of the lawsuit settlement, a scholarship fund that will help Indian youth to access higher education, academic as well as vocational.

(7) Elouise Cobell is the recipient of many awards and honors. In 1997, she received a “Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Fellows program, a portion of which was used to fund her lawsuit. Elouise Cobell received the 2002 International Women’s Forum award for “Women Who Make a Difference” in Mexico City. In 2004, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development presented her with the Jay Silverheels Achievement Award. A year later, she received a Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, an award that cited her persistence in bringing to light the “more than a century of Government malfeasance and dishonesty” in the Government’s mismanagement of the Individual Indian Trust. In 2007, she received an AARP Impact Award, and in 2011 Elouise Cobell was named “Montana Citizen of the Year” by the Montana Trial Lawyers Association. She has received honorary degrees from Montana State University, Rollins College, and Dartmouth College.

(8) Elouise Cobell is a respected leader in Indian Country for civic and economic development. For 13 years, she served her own tribal community as treasurer for the Blackfeet Nation, and has served on a number of Native American organizational boards, including the board of trustees for the National Museum of the American Indian. Her contributions to economic development in Indian Country are substantial, not the least of which is her role in the establishment and management of the Native American Bank.

(9) As a Montanan, Elouise Cobell has stayed invested in issues affecting the Montana community by serving as a trustee for the Nature Conservancy of Montana, while also working her own ranch that produces cattle and crops.

(10) Elouise Cobell has changed immeasurably the lives of individual Indians and women in the United States, North America, and around the world through her advocacy efforts to obtain justice for the often overlooked population of indigenous peoples.

(11) Elouise Cobell’s life and work has shined light on the barriers confronted by individual Indians in the United States, and her actions not only raise the national awareness of these issues, they resolve them.

(12) Elouise Cobell is an inspiration to women, individual American Indians and Alaska Natives, and advocates who seek to give voice to the voiceless and most vulnerable across the globe.

SEC. 2. Congressional gold medal.

(a) Presentation authorized.—The President is authorized to present, on behalf of the Congress, a gold medal of appropriate design to Elouise Pepion Cobell in recognition of her outstanding and enduring contributions to the welfare of individual Indians in the United States and her inspiration to indigenous peoples across the globe.

(b) Design and striking.—For the purpose of the presentation referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (in this Act referred to as the “Secretary”) shall strike a gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 3. Duplicate medals.

The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck pursuant to section 2 under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, and at a price sufficient to cover the cost thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.

SEC. 4. National medals.

The medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

SEC. 5. Authorization of appropriations; proceeds of sale.

(a) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be charged against the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund an amount not to exceed $30,000 to pay for the cost of the medal authorized by this Act.

(b) Proceeds of sale.—Amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited in the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund.