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100 Years: One Womanís Fight for Justice

Distributed by The Video Project, 145 - 9th St., Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103; 800-475-2638
Produced by Melinda Janko and Michele Ohayon
Directed by Melinda Janko
DVD , color, 75 min.
Middle School - General Adult
Activism, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Ethics, Government, Law, Native Americans, Poverty, Western United States, U.S. History

Reviewed by Douglas Reed, Department of Political Science, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 7/25/2018

The film tells the incredible story of Elouise Cobell, a banker and treasurer for the Blackfeet Tribe who made history when she filed and eventually won the countryís largest class action law suit. Her journey began when she noticed money missing from Indian Trust accounts, which the government set up when it converted reservation lands into private properties for over 300,000 Native Americans among various tribes. For over a century, the government had promised to oversee their oil, gas, and other mineral rights. But as Cobell and her allies discovered, these Native Americans had been receiving far less in mineral rights and energy output payments compared to other land owners. For more than a decade, she and her colleagues persisted through a maze of disorganized documentation, political stonewalling, and legal roadblocks. In the end, Cobellís quiet resolve and professionalism upended a system rife with mismanagement, fraud, and corruption.

While carefully unwinding the legalities of Cobellís historic case, 100 Years peers into the world of a forgotten people, a world marked by abject poverty and environmental ruin. Isolation and despair emanate from their careworn faces and throughout the stark landscape of their homeland. When President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 into law, the $3.4 billion it provided was a significant step forward for those who had waited far too long for justice.

An official selection at numerous festivals, 100 Years won the Big Sky Award at the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana and the Jury Award at the 2018 Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. In the spring of 2018, the film premiered on PBS World Channelís America Reframed and on Netflix.

Highly recommended for all libraries, 100 Years is an excellent resource for courses in ethics, history, and political science.