Published on November 11, 2021 by Morgan Black  

On Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, Cumberland School of Law partnered with Samford's Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives and the Department of Sociology to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a screening of the award-winning documentary, 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice.

During the event, the producer/director of the film was interviewed live by attendees and shared her remarkable story about her 14 years crafting the film. The film tells the story of Eloise Cobell and her fight against the U.S. government on behalf of more than 300,000 native people.

The official website for the film summarizes this incredible true story as follows: “When Elouise Cobell, a petite Blackfeet warrior from Montana, started asking questions about missing money from government managed Indian Trust accounts, she never imagined that one day she would be taking on the world’s most powerful government. But what she discovered as the Treasurer of her tribe was a trail of fraud and corruption leading all the way from Montana to Washington DC. 100 Years is the story of her 30-year fight for justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral rich lands were grossly mismanaged by the United States Government. In 1996, Cobell filed the largest class action lawsuit ever filed against the federal government. For fifteen long years, and through three Presidential administrations, Elouise Cobell's unrelenting spirit never quit. This is the compelling true story of how she prevailed and made history.” 

Kerry McInerney, adjunct professor and director of Cumberland’s online graduate programs, helped organize the event. 

He said, “I was proud to have the opportunity to help bring this film to campus. Certainly 100 Years tells a compelling story about the largest class action in history, where an individual from a small town in Montana overcame the power of the federal government and prevailed. But perhaps more compelling to me was how Ms. Cobell was the champion of the Native American people, a population which has historically been un- or underrepresented in our justice system. Her victory represented far more than the money she won for her people, but also represented a triumph in her people’s access to justice. Adding to this event was the unique insight and perspective of the film’s producer and director as she shared inside information about Ms. Cobell and the making of the film over 14 years.” 

Those who were unable to attend the screening can view information about the film and Cobell here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.