A spokesman for Elouise Cobell says the Blackfeet woman who led a 15-year fight to force the U.S. government to account for more than a century of mismanaged Indian land royalties has died.

She was 65.

Spokesman Bill McAllister says Cobell died Sunday at a Great Falls hospital of complications from cancer.

Cobell was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed in 1996 claiming the Interior Department owed billions of dollars to as many as 500,000 Native Americans with land trust accounts.

A $3.4 billion settlement was approved by a judge earlier this year.

Cobell said in a 2010 interview that she hoped she would inspire a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others and lift their community out of poverty.

Associated Press