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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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...

Latest Headlines:

Alaska Native executive Tara Sweeney named to top Bureau of Indian Affairs job
Tribes slam Trump administration for adding hurdles to land-into-trust process
Native Sun News Today: Native Americans over-represented in county jail population
Tim Giago: Clones in Congress won't stand up to the Clown in the White House
Mark Trahant: Exploring the 'business' of news in Indian Country these days
Native Sun News Today: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate debuts new grocery store
Bears Ears remains in limbo as Republicans leave tribes out of monument bill
Mark Trahant: Trump brings more chaos to health coverage for tribal citizens
YES! Magazine: Tribal hospital in Alaska brings traditional foods to patients
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders absent at border town liquor summit
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Teams continue to denigrate Indian people
Secretary Zinke requires special flag to be flown when he's in Interior building
Lawsuit seeks damages for death of girl at Bureau of Indian Education school
President of Northern Cheyenne Tribe remains in office after disputed removal
Republican candidate questions mural for depicting Indian people as too 'dark'
Bureau of Indian Affairs supports name change for 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah
Aroostook Band of Micmacs backs ballot referendum for new casino in Maine
Gun Lake Tribe secures strong local support in casino case except for one town
Second federal appeals court chimes in with decision favoring tribal homelands
Harold Frazier: Another incident of racism targets Native youth in South Dakota
Native American Voting Rights Coalition convenes second hearing in Wisconsin
Yurok Tribe welcomes introduction of bill to add important lands to reservation
YES! Magazine: Native family uses energy proceeds to benefit Indian Country
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe refutes rumors of Black Hills 'sale'
James Giago Davies: A best friend sticks with us even at the very end of life
Cronkite News: Republicans quickly move bill to limit new national monuments
Raymond Hitchcock: Sorry but tribal casinos aren't linked to increases in crime
Osage Nation prepared to fight state over water rights on historic reservation
Eastern Cherokee council complete after second round of voting for one seat
Iowa Tribe announces 'Monsterous' deal linked to long-delayed poker website
Squaxin Island Tribe holds grand opening for remodeled hotel tower at casino
Judge deals tribes major setback with decision in Dakota Access Pipeline case
YES! Magazine: Winnemem Wintu Tribe struggles to bring salmon back home
Native Sun News Today: Rapid City turns out for Native American Day parade
Ivan Star Comes Out: Our teachers shouldn't be doing the jobs of the parents
Non-Indian parents file lawsuit to halt transfer of child custody cases to tribes
County in Oregon holds public hearing on name of 'Dead Indian Memorial Road'
Swinomish Tribe set to open substance abuse treatment center in Washington
All-Native band Warpath from California mixes heavy metal with tribal elements
Ramapough Lunaape Nation defends right to host prayer camp in New Jersey
Chehalis Tribe working with local authorities on fatal shooting outside casino
Gun Lake Tribe shares oral arguments with Trump team in Supreme Court case
Supreme Court puts end to case challenging Colorado River Indian Tribes lease
Kansas asks Supreme Court to overturn ruling in Quapaw Tribe homeland case
Jacqueline Keeler: 'Black Snake' film explores fight over pipeline in Minnesota
The Conversation: Indigenous people invented the so-called 'American Dream'
Navajo Nation mourns passing of Code Talker David Patterson Sr. at age of 94
Trump ignores Native people on Columbus Day while campaign touts '1492' sale
Agua Caliente Band showcases culture with major development in Palm Springs
Narragansett Tribe faces more questions about water deal with energy company
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe announces first phase of gaming expansion project
Congress approves a very short-term extension for key Indian diabetes program
Trump nominates Quapaw citizen Robert Weaver to lead Indian Health Service
Doug George-Kanentiio: Sixties Scoop survivors weren't consulted on settlement
Mark Trahant: Native lawmaker Peggy Flanagan in race for Minnesota's top office
Tim Giago: South Dakota governor remains ignorant of our state's Indian history
Dennis Daugaard: South Dakota has cause to celebrate on Native American Day
Albert Bender: Tennessee's capital city takes big step on Indigenous Peoples' Day
>>> 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.