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Law creating Indian Affairs department approved
Friday, February 20, 2004

The New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs was officially elevated to cabinet-level status with approval of a bill by the State Legislature on Wednesday.

The bill provides $527,000 to fund the department, which would have two divisions. One would be administrative, the other would handle programs.

Cabinet secretary Bernie Teba was elated with the elevation of the department. "It has been fifty years since the establishment of the Commission on Indian Affairs, almost 30 years since the creation of the Office of Indian Affairs and now Native Americans in New Mexico have a permanent seat at the Governor's cabinet table," said Teba, a member of Santa Clara Pueblo.

The Indian Affairs Department manages 20 million in capital outlay projects involving 300 projects. There are currently ten staff members of the Indian Affairs Department, including the secretary.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D) elevated the Indian Affairs director to the Cabinet level. He has appointed a record number of Native Americans to top posts in his administration.

Related Stories:
Law creating N.M. Indian department clears House (02/06)
N.M. Indian affairs officials unexpectedly resign (01/29)
N.M. law elevates Indian affairs position (04/09)
N.M. governor signs Indian education act into law (4/7)
Tribes and states stress cooperation not conflict (02/28)
A record number of Indians on governor's list (02/04)
N.M. governor seeks full partnership with Natives (01/22)
Indians take top posts in N.M. government (01/06)

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