indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Campbell warns BIA's Anderson of 'Washington' attitude
Thursday, May 13, 2004

There were no hard feelings on Wednesday as assistant secretary Dave Anderson finally testified before a Senate committee he was earlier accused of avoiding.

Anderson joined the Bush administration in February and has spent most of his time since then on the road, visiting Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and meeting with tribal leaders. The busy schedule left little room for another rather important component of his job -- appearing before Congress.

In this case, it was the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, whose members had quickly endorsed Anderson's nomination way back in October. But Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), the committee's chairman, became somewhat miffed when the new head of the BIA didn't show up for some critical hearings.

"He seems to have taken a hike on us. He's just not around most of the time when he should be," Campbell said last month.

Anderson finally got to account for his whereabouts yesterday. Before the hearing started, he informed Campbell of his Indian Country road trips.

That gave Campbell, who is retiring this year after a storied career in both the House and Senate, a perfect opportunity to quiz Anderson on just exactly what he's been doing for the past three months.

How many tribes have you met, Campbell asked? Oh, about 25, Anderson replied after asking a staff member for a little assistance.

And what have you learned, Campbell wanted to know? Tribes are very concerned about law enforcement and substance abuse, Anderson responded.

At first, the queries appeared to have little relation to the subject of the hearing -- a bill Campbell is sponsoring to expand the successful self-governance program to include more programs.

But as the hearing moved on, it was clear the answers weren't exactly the ones Campbell wanted to hear. To him, they were indicative of the lukewarm reception the Interior Department has given to his proposals, which have significant tribal support.

"As I just go over in my own mind all the bills that we've dealt with to try and help Indian people ... I can't remember a single one, frankly, that the administration -- anybody's administration over the last 12 years I've been here -- has put forth," he said. "Most of the good bills that have come up and gone through the committee have come from Indian people."

"In some cases, we've had to drag along the administration kicking and screaming, when I thought we were all supposed to be in this together," he added. Federal agencies are more concerned about "turf protection" than helping Indian Country, he said.

Campbell also expressed concern that Anderson's "can do" attitude -- which convinced many a senator of his credentials -- wasn't taking ahold.

"When I helped you with your confirmation, I was very impressed with what I thought was [your] real belief in trying to make sure Indian people get a fair shake out of this government," he told Anderson.

Campbell's sentiments prompted Anderson to recite more of that "can do" attitude that has inspired Indian students across the nation. "When I came on board, I came on board with the spirit of heart that I could make a difference," Anderson said.

But it hasn't been exactly smooth sailing, Anderson admitted, without directly mentioning the heat he is taking for removing himself from some of his critical duties. "I will tell you that this has been a real awakening for me," he told Campbell.

Anderson said he into office thinking he would do everything different and make some important changes. But "when you get into it, you find that the bureaucracy is greater than you can imagine," he said.

"Mister Assistant Secretary, Welcome to Washington," Campbell added, with only just a hint of sarcasm.

Anderson had to leave the hearing due to a tight schedule later that day, so Campbell didn't get a chance to ask him about his controversial recusal decision. At the hearing last month, Campbell questioned why Anderson would remove himself from "about half of the responsibilities he was appointed to do."

Campbell said yesterday he still supported Anderson and that he hoped he would continue to seek positive change at the BIA. "I would hope after I'm gone that you're still here," he said.

Politicians from Connecticut who oppose the BIA on a number of fronts want Anderson to resign but he rejected the request last week. "It's an election year. They're entitled to their opinion," he said during commencement exercises at the United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota.

Related Stories:
Editorial: Dave Anderson should work 'full time' (5/11)
BIA's Anderson has Indian Country support (5/10)
Editorial: Anderson should not resign (5/7)
Dodd says Anderson recusal came out of nowhere (5/7)
BIA bashed over federal recognition decisions (5/6)
Dodd calls on Anderson to resign over broad recusal (5/6)
Anderson recused on all federal recognition matters (5/5)
BIA critical of main components of recognition bill (04/22)
Anderson takes message to Indian Country youth (2/18)
Anderson asks for prayers in new job as head of BIA (02/05)
'Famous' Dave Anderson confirmed to head BIA (12/11)
BIA nominee wins endorsement of Senate panel (10/23)
White House acts to fill top BIA leadership post (09/15)
Biography: BIA nominee 'Famous' Dave Anderson (09/15)
Lack of BIA nominee puzzles Indian Country (08/07)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Eyapaha Today: Oneida singer follows in mother's footsteps (10/22)
Native Sun News: Candidate seeks investigation into program (10/22)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota people disrespect our language (10/22)
Cedric Sunray: Standing together to fight tribal disenrollment (10/22)
SCIA to hold listening session at NCAI on Indian education bill (10/22)
FNDI urges passage for Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act (10/22)
Chumash Tribe praises BIA movement on land-into-trust bid (10/22)
Steven Newcomb: The role of Latin in empire and colonization (10/22)
Christopher Chavis: Navajo court got it wrong in fluency case (10/22)
Navajo Nation presidential hopeful to be removed from ballot (10/22)
Aging BIA school on Navajo Nation awaits replacement funds (10/22)
Review: NMAI treaties exhibit underscores misunderstandings (10/22)
Alaska Native elders and youth share issues at annual meeting (10/22)
Shinnecock Nation allows felons to hold office in certain cases (10/22)
2nd Circuit hears appeal from former chairman of Pequot Tribe (10/22)
Rep. Don Young criticized for comments to high school students (10/22)
Candidates differ on Spokane Tribe's off-reservation casino bid (10/22)
Poarch Creeks to add hotel to casino with $65M expansion plan (10/22)
Salt River Tribe concerned about Tohono O'odham Nation casino (10/22)
North Fork Rancheria blames rival tribes for holding up compact (10/22)
Ballot proposal authorizes more Class III games in South Dakota (10/22)
Blog: Predictions for gaming with Hillary Clinton in White House (10/22)
Native Sun News: Activists take annual swim to Alcatraz Island (10/21)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives ready for conference and election (10/21)
BIA announces consultations for secretarial election regulation (10/21)
Chelsey Luger & Gyasi Ross: From slow suicide to slow healing (10/21)
Bill John Baker: Addressing breast cancer in our communities (10/21)
ICT interview with Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn of BIA (10/21)
Navajo Nation court still mulling decision in presidential case (10/21)
Column: Billy Mills still inspires 50 years after Olympic victory (10/21)
Editorial: Winnebago Tribe's business makes a big contribution (10/21)
Lincoln Indian Center adopts permanent alcohol ban after party (10/21)
Suquamish Tribe shares fish from hatchery at annual giveaway (10/21)
Editorial: Bad move by Northern Arapaho Tribe on joint council (10/21)
Wisconsin court to hear appeal over Oneida Nation waste plant (10/21)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe reaches out to family that lost home to fire (10/21)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino affects reservation water (10/21)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe considers casino on ancestral Ohio site (10/21)
Town meeting for Lac Vieux Desert Band off-reservation casino (10/21)
North Fork Rancheria won't give up off-reservation casino plan (10/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation was looking for off-reservation casino (10/21)
Poarch Creeks won't confirm or deny talks for gaming compact (10/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.