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DOI superiors had 'problems' with Majel Russell
Friday, May 30, 2008
Filed Under: Politics

Interior Department superiors had "problems" with Majel Russell, a factor that played into the resignation of assistant secretary Carl Artman, Indian Country Today reports.

Russell, a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana, serves as principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Under an unusual agreement with Artman, she worked from Montana rather than relocate to Washington, D.C.

The arrangement and Russell's pro-tribal views appeared to have contributed to Artman's resignation, ICT reports. ''I think that [Russell] was seen as too strong of a tribalist,'' Ron Allen, the chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington, told ICT. ''I even think that's what happened with Carl Artman - there were issues going on where [his superiors] felt he was being too supportive of tribes' agendas.''

That could be the reason Russell was passed over for Artman's position, which instead went to George Skibine, a member of the Osage Nationn of Oklahoma and a career employee. ICT said that Russell was more than willing to move to DC to take the job.

''It's my understanding that Majel will remain at the department in an influential capacity that utilizes her skill set. She will make her own decisions ... but she's well aware of the internal politics," Jackie Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, told ICT.

Get the Story:
Temporary BIA chief tapped (Indian Country Today 5/30)

Related Stories:
Top BIA post filled for now by career employee (5/28)
Skibine to assume duties of assistant secretary (5/27)
Artman to testify one final time before leaving office (5/22)
Senate hearing on backlogs at Interior Department (5/21)
Gaming regulations finalized by resigning Artman (5/20)
BIA to issue Section 20 rules for gaming acquisitions (5/19)
BIA cancels four land-into-trust environmental reviews (5/19)
Dorgan disappointed by Artman's resignation (5/2)
Unfinished business for BIA after Artman (5/1)
Artman resigns after a year as head of BIA (4/29)



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