indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Tribes debate response to trust reform plans
MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2003

A group of tribal leaders met in Washington, D.C., last week to consider their response to a set of court-ordered proposals aimed at fixing the broken Indian trust.

Although not parties to the ongoing lawsuit, tribes are increasingly interested in the case. The six-year dispute, initiated by Elouise Cobell, a banker who is the former treasurer for the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, represents more than 500,000 individual tribal members but reform efforts have greater impacts throughout the Department of Interior.

"Tribes," said John Dossett, a lawyer for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), "have in some ways been on the sidelines. For the first time, we are going to take a direct hand in this litigation."

The form of the tribal participation will be through a friend-of-the-court brief. NCAI is working with the law firm of Hobbs, Strauss, Dean & Walker, which has represented several trust cases, to draft and submit the response by the end of the month.

"An amicus brief is going to focus on the tribal point of view," said Charles Hobbs, an attorney whose work on the Mitchell Supreme Court cases paved the way for many Indian claims.

The tribes have identified several issues they will raise to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, the judge overseeing the case. They say any changes to the trust must include clear standards, respect tribal self-determination, keep funding resources intact and require consultation.

Sifting through hundreds of pages of documents the Bush administration and the Indian plaintiffs submitted on January 6, Michael Willis, one of the attorneys working on the brief, said they were "markedly different." He characterized the government's proposal as "plan to make a plan" because it lacked hard deadlines and didn't include the details tribes have sought.

"Judge, get off our backs," is the message the government is sending, Willis said.

With regard to trust standards, Hobbs said the plaintiffs' plan was "worth getting on board." "I think it does the trick with regard to what the trust standards are," he told the tribes.

But not all were convinced. George Waters, a representative of the Crow Tribe of Montana, criticized the addition of a team of experienced trust managers to oversee the system. "This is plan that reorganizes the [Bureau of Indian Affairs]," he said.

Jim Gray, chief of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, backed the plaintiffs' inclusion of tribal standards for the management of trust assets. He also responded to suggestions that tribal interests outweigh those of the individual Indians. "To say that they don't have a right to be at the table is wrong," he said of the individual account holders.

Most of the discussion occurred during a closed door session on Friday morning. Tribes grappled with a response that falls within the guidelines of a NCAI resolution that was passed last year, and when it should be submitted, according to participants in the talks.

Attorneys for the Indian plaintiffs said they welcome the submission of any amicus briefs. Keith Harper of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) acknowledged that their plan includes major changes but said it also respects tribal rights.

The government and the plaintiffs have until January 31 to respond to the plans, which Lamberth will use to enter what is known as a structural injunction. The order will require the Interior to meet its duties to the individual account holders.

By January 31, both sides must also raise issues about the scope of an accounting for the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust. Lamberth expects to start a trial on moving forward the accounting on May 1.

Court-Ordered Reform Plans:
DOI: Fiduciary Obligations | DOI: Historical Accounting
Plaintiffs: Remedial Plan | Plaintiffs: Historical Accounting

Relevant Documents:
DOI Interagency procedures handbook | Other Memoranda

Reorganization Documents:
New OST-BIA | New BIA | Old BIA

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

Related Stories:
Additional DOI documents filed on Jan. 6 (1/10)
Treasury won't file trust reform plan (1/9)
Standards guide reform effort (1/8)
What happened to all the land? (1/8)
Congressman accuses Norton of 'stealth' moves (1/8)
Sioux chairman calls BIA talks a 'sham' (1/8)
Cobell trust reform plans filed (1/7)
Norton to fight IIM accounting (1/7)
DOI complains about consultation (1/7)
Court official demands documents (1/7)
Griles: No evidence of trust fund loss (1/7)
Swimmer picked as Indian trustee (1/6)
Norton won't account for assets (1/6)
McCaleb learned about trust 'on the job' (12/23)
Lamberth slams claimed accounting (12/23)
Edwards: Slonaker changed mind on accounts (12/23)
McCaleb challenges trust accounting claims (12/19)
Deadline approaches on plans (12/19)
Tribes opposing BIA proposal (12/18)
'This is not son of BITAM' (12/17)
Tribes debate future of talks (12/17)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala student makes name as young writer (4/23)
Mark Trahant: Budget predictions at the Indian Health Service (4/23)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides in Washington (4/23)
Gyasi Ross: Stop Keystone XL Pipeline and protect homelands (4/23)
Videos: Cowboy Indian Alliance protests Keystone XL Pipeline (4/23)
Steve Russell: Indians often seen an obstacle to government (4/23)
Mary Pember: Ojibwe women rise to protect the environment (4/23)
Brent Cahwee: Shoni Schimmel brings her show to the WNBA (4/23)
Malcolm Benally: Some Navajo leaders clueless on mascots (4/23)
Jacoby Ellsbury makes strong debut with New York Yankees (4/23)
Washington team owner says he 'understands' Indian issues (4/23)
Gathering of Nations ready for annual powwow and pageant (4/23)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Navajo family sues restaurant over drunken driving deaths (4/23)
Crushplate: 10 disturbing facts about Indian Country health (4/23)
North Dakota tribe ranks high among energy producers in US (4/23)
WXPR: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe taps green energy (4/23)
Opinion: Tribal members challenge California taxation rules (4/23)
Supreme Court allows ban on affirmative action in Michigan (4/23)
Turtle Talk: No word from Supreme Court on Bay Mills case (4/23)
ICT interview with Ernie Stevens of NIGA on racist mascots (4/23)
Jamul Band rejects claim about burial ground at casino site (4/23)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sends $1M casino application fee (4/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation seeks road grant for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Teacher resigns after arrest for theft at Poarch Creek casino (4/23)
Native Sun News: Sisseton Wahpeton fighter gets big chance (4/22)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man behind Revolution Couture (4/22)
CDC reports show high death rates among Native Americans (4/22)
DOI Secretary Sally Jewell delivers keynote at tribal summit (4/22)
DOI Deputy Secretary Mike Connor hosts Earth Day webchat (4/22)
Winona LaDuke: Tribes won't see benefits from Keystone XL (4/22)
Photos: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides to National Mall in DC (4/22)
Alray Nelson: Bring marriage equality to the Navajo Nation (4/22)
Steven Newcomb: UNDRIP falls into domination framework (4/22)
DaShanne Stokes: 'Indian' mascots carry harmful impacts (4/22)
Wendell George: Little Joe connects with his tribal heritage (4/22)
Peter Twitchell: Stop passing the buck on our Yup'ik culture (4/22)
Murray Sinclair: Effects of residential school era will linger (4/22)
Wyoming tribes share per cap from $157M trust settlement (4/22)
Navajo Nation Council reconsiders higher tax on junk foods (4/22)
Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle set to retire after 17 years (4/22)
Opinion: Maps represent destruction of Native people in US (4/22)
Oneida Nation to host PGA championship at resort in 2016 (4/22)
Blog: Climate change impacts Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (4/22)
Supreme Court holding onto ruling in Bay Mills casino case (4/22)
Paskenta Band says leadership issues won't affect casino (4/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe on track with casino hotel (4/22)
Deadline approaches for commercial casinos in New York (4/22)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline foes headed to DC (4/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | 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.