indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Funding levels flat in new Interior budget
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Interior Secretary Gale Norton unveiled an $11 billion budget on Monday that provides a limited set of new funds for Indian Country programs.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Norton said the fiscal year 2005 request enables the Department of Interior to fulfill its "inspiring" and "challenging" mission. She cited construction of Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and trust reform as top priorities of the Bush administration.

"Our budget will allow us to achieve our vision of healthy lands, thriving communities and dynamic economies," she said.

The new budget reflects an increase of just $250 million, or 2 percent, above current levels. Two agencies, the National Park Service and the Office of Special Trustee, are receiving the bulk of that increase.

That leaves the BIA with an overall cut of $52 million. At $2.3 billion, the agency is seeing decreases in education and resources management.

The cuts are offset by increases for trust related activities, although a large portion, $29.1 million, is going to build a new computer network for the BIA. In addition, the budget requests $5.5 million for new hires at BIA agencies and $4 million for specialists and attorney decision-makers who will reduce the backlog of Indian probates.

"This work will not be easy," said Lynn Scarlett, the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.

Overall, the trust budget is $616.4 million, an increase of $161.1 million over current levels. Some of the money goes to BIA but the bulk ends up at OST, which was created by Congress to oversee reform efforts.

OST has expanded its mission in recent years, and the new budget reflects the change. At $322.7 million, the agency is seeing a $113.6 million, or 54 percent, increase above current levels.

Most of the money, $109.4 million, will fund historical accounting activities for Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts, although officials believe a pending court appeal, or possible Congressional action, could change the amount. The Office of Historical Trust Accounting expects to use $29.4 million on tribal trust accounts.

Within BIA and OST, there are two initiatives of interest. One is the creation of a new Office of Tribal Consultation at BIA with a $1.1 million budget.

Principal deputy assistant secretary Aurene Martin said she saw a great need for the office. "One of the things I noticed was that we didn't do the whole process of consultation very well," she said in an interview. "So I wanted to find a mechanism for providing a point of contact and continuity for tribes when we do have consultations."

Martin said the office will most likely be operated out of Washington, D.C., and will have a staff of five, including a director. The office will report to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs, which does not follow the Indian preference policy.

The second initiative is a major expansion in efforts to consolidate the Indian estate. Over generations, Indian allotments have become fractionated among many different owners, reducing the financial viability of the land and, government officials say, increasing administrative burdens.

The budget seeks $75.0 million for land consolidation, an increase of $53.3 million. Special Trustee Ross Swimmer said current funding levels are insufficient to made a dent in the issue.

"When we look at the statistics, that won't even keep up with the rate of fractionation," he said in an interview yesterday.

A Congressional requirement forces the money for consolidation to be given to OST, which then transfers the funds to BIA. Martin said consolidation will continue to be overseen out of the Great Lake regional office, which has run a pilot program for five years to limited success -- while a large number of fractionated interests were purchased, an even larger number were generated in the same amount of time.

In other areas of concern for Indian Country, the tribal priority allocation (TPA) request is $775.6 million, a small increase of $4.9 million. TPA funds are critical because tribes use them to carry out day-to-day government programs and functions.

For the first time in recent years, the BIA budget includes money for staffing detention centers. An increase of $7.8 million will help eight jails that are being completed in fiscal year 2005.

Five BIA schools are up for construction in 2005. The Bread Springs Day School, Ojo Encino Day School and Beclabito Day School in New Mexico; the Leupp Boarding School in Arizona; and the Chemawa Indian School Dormitory in Oregon will receive $68.5 million.

But overall, the BIA school construction account is being cut by $65.9 million. "The funding level has been reduced in order to allow the program to focus on building the schools already funded for construction," the budget states.

Relevant Documents:
Fiscal Year 2005 Budget in Brief | Unified Trust Budget | Serving Tribal Communities | BIA Highlights | Departmental Offices [for Office of Special Trustee]

Related Stories:
NCAI president uses speech to lobby for funding (01/22)
DOI fares poorly on computer security report card (12/11)
Trust fund rider faces test in courtroom (11/24)
Tribes and Bush administration still apart on trust (11/20)
Tribal leaders press Bush administration on policy (11/19)
Tribes ride fine line on Interior budget bill (11/06)
Congress clears Indian funding in budget bill (11/4)
House approves trust fund rider in DOI bill (10/31)
Campbell pushes action on trust fund suit (10/30)
Battle brews in House over DOI budget bill (10/30)
Cobell rallies support for trust fund case (10/28)
DOI bill halts Indian trust fund case (10/24)
Bill targets Indian trust fund suit (10/22)
Congress hacks Bush's accounting funds (7/16)
Tribes oppose OST expansion into Indian County (5/22)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
School on Pine Ridge Reservation immerses children in Lakota culture
School on Pine Ridge Reservation immerses children in Lakota culture
A school on the Pine Ridge Reservation is immersing children in Lakota culture, turning the tide against genocide and trauma.

House committee set to advance Republican-sponsored Indian bills
House committee set to advance Republican-sponsored Indian bills
The House Committee on Natural Resources is due to advance three Indian bills at a markup session on Capitol Hill.

Cronkite News: San Carlos Apache activist joins rally at U.S. Capitol
Cronkite News: San Carlos Apache activist joins rally at U.S. Capitol
'There are many issues that need to be addressed, but Congress doesn’t matter if there’s no water,' said Apache activist Wendsler Nosie Sr.

Graham Lee Brewer: Discrimination against Native students all too common
Graham Lee Brewer: Discrimination against Native students all too common
Discrimination against two young Mohawk men at Colorado State University highlights an all-too-common misunderstanding.

Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan could be the first Native governor
Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan could be the first Native governor
Conventional wisdom says Paulette Jordan has no chance, but Idaho is changing fast.

Scrambled Eggs: How the Trump team is mixing up the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Scrambled Eggs: How the Trump team is mixing up the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Still wondering about that reorganization? A former Bureau of Indian Affairs official explains it.

Teen ordered to apologize to treaty tribes for starting massive fire
Teen ordered to apologize to treaty tribes for starting massive fire
A 15-year-old boy started a massive fire that endangered treaty and cultural resources along the Columbia River.

Navajo Nation casinos generate another $10 million for chapter communities
Gaming continues to benefit communities on the Navajo Nation.

Muscogee Nation clashes with state in reservation boundary dispute
Muscogee Nation clashes with state in reservation boundary dispute
The Muscogee Nation and the state of Oklahoma are headed into a historic sovereignty clash thanks to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court sides with tribal interests in sovereign immunity case
Supreme Court sides with tribal interests in sovereign immunity case
In a rare win for Indian Country, the nation's highest court has sided with tribal interests in a closely-watched sovereign immunity case.

Doug George-Kanentiio: Energy company still hostile to indigenous interests
Doug George-Kanentiio: Energy company still hostile to indigenous interests
The Mohawk people can abide by our ancestral morals and reject a deal with the Enbridge energy company.

Mark Trahant: Native candidates in New Mexico react to polls and controversy
Mark Trahant: Native candidates in New Mexico react to polls and controversy
As voters head to the polls in New Mexico, Deb Haaland is in a tight three-way race while Gavin Clarkson is still stirring controversy.

Cronkite News: Republican version of Farm Bill defeated in House
Cronkite News: Republican version of Farm Bill defeated in House
Two Arizona lawmakers were among the 30 Republicans who crossed the aisle and joined all Democrats to send the $868 billion farm bill to defeat.

Mike Males: It's not schools that are dangerous for our children
Mike Males: It's not schools that are dangerous for our children
Schools are the sites of fewer than 3 percent of students’ gun homicides; the other 97 percent occur somewhere other than school.

Tribes seek a seat at table as states look into sports betting
With a landmark Supreme Court decision on the books, tribes from California to Connecticut want to be at the table when it comes to sports betting.

Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders named to national environmental panel
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders named to national environmental panel
Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation has been thrust into the spotlight with a new role.

James Giago Davies: One of these days we are going to actually read the book
James Giago Davies: One of these days we are going to actually read the book
In every Wasicu church, and on every reservation, are holy men who can’t even tell you what caused the sky to be blue or thunder to crackle.

Hopi Tribe seeks support for long-overdue land transfer
Hopi Tribe seeks support for long-overdue land transfer
The Hopi Tribe is looking to federal government to fulfill a long-overdue promise that's connected to a seemingly endless land dispute.

Lac du Flambeau Band awaits results of autopsy in search for missing man
Lac du Flambeau Band awaits results of autopsy in search for missing man
Family and friends are offering tributes to Antonio Roché, a 24-year-old Lac du Flambeau man who went missing earlier this month.

Redding Rancheria pays tribute to late former chairwoman Barbara Murphy
Redding Rancheria pays tribute to late former chairwoman Barbara Murphy
Barbara Murphy, a former chairwoman of the Redding Rancheria, passed away on May 8. She was 79.

Agua Caliente Band donates $25,000 in gear to local fire department
Agua Caliente Band donates $25,000 in gear to local fire department
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is helping out a new crew of firefighters in southern California.

Tribes continue to weigh impact of Supreme Court ruling on sports betting
Tribes are welcoming the opportunity to engage in sports betting following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Tribes lose out in funding bill includes money for Trump reorganization
Tribes lose out in funding bill that includes money for Trump reorganization
A funding bill advancing on Capitol Hill is a win overall for Indian Country except for one big issue: a reorganization that tribes know little to nothing about.

Tribal items still going up for sale as lawmakers advance STOP Act
Tribal items still going up for sale as lawmakers advance STOP Act
A bipartisan bill aimed at stopping the trafficking of tribal items is taking a step forward on Capitol Hill amid ongoing concern over the sale of cultural property.

Native Sun News Today: Indigenous people 'criminalized, detained and sent to prisons'
Indigenous people often 'criminalized, detained and sent to prisons'
A top United Nations official is finding commonalities among indigenous struggles throughout the Americas.

YES! Magazine: Indigenous women reclaim traditions in pipeline fight
YES! Magazine: Indigenous women reclaim traditions in pipeline fight
With affordable and energy-efficient tiny houses, indigenous women are bringing back elements of Secwepemc culture.

Ivan Star Comes Out: Keeping Indian Country oppressed seems be the norm today
Ivan Star Comes Out: Keeping Indian Country oppressed seems be the norm today
We are blindly forging ahead when we should be learning our history from the inside out.

Museum in Germany returns items stolen from Native graves in Alaska
Museum in Germany returns items stolen from Native graves in Alaska
A museum in Germany is returning items that were stolen from Native graves in Alaska to their rightful place.

'Talks have broken down': Shinnecock Nation seeks role in golf tournament
'Talks have broken down': Shinnecock Nation seeks role in golf tournament
The Shinnecock Nation is working to reach an agreement with the hosts of the U.S. Open, a popular golf tournament that is taking place on stolen land.

Indian activist known for anti-mascot work pleads guilty to theft
Indian activist known for anti-mascot work pleads guilty to theft
Apache activist Robert Roche, who appeared in an iconic photo confronting a baseball fan, faces prison time for stealing federal funds.

Trump administration goes against tribal interests in treaty case
Trump administration goes against tribal interests in treaty case
After seven months, the Trump administration has finally provided its views in a closely-watched treaty rights case and it's not looking good for Indian Country.

'It was a travesty': Exhibit portrays Wounded Knee Massacre
'It was a travesty': Exhibit portrays Wounded Knee Massacre
An unprecedented audio-visual art exhibit about the Wounded Knee Massacre is traveling around South Dakota.

Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan cruises to victory on primary night
Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan cruises to victory on primary night
Paulette Jordan, a citizen of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, won a convincing primary victory in her bid to be the next governor of Idaho.

Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux tribal leaders try to hold onto power
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux tribal leaders try to hold onto power
Most, if not all, elected officials supported constitutional reform during the elections, but now only a handful are still hard at it and willing to keep their promises.

Security firm hired by Dakota Access still won't admit wrongdoing
Security firm hired by Dakota Access still won't admit wrongdoing
TigerSwan, hired by the wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is trying to clear its name in North Dakota.

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.