Home > News > More Headlines > BIA initiatives to impact Indian education
Printer friendly version
BIA initiatives to impact Indian education
TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2003

Members of the nation's largest Indian education association moved to oppose two Bush administrative initiatives they said would negatively impact Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.

Citing a lack of consultation and potential violation of federal law, attendees of the National Indian Education Association's annual legislative summit in Washington, D.C., criticized the pending reorganization of the BIA. Although pitched as means of fixing long-standing trust mismanagement problems, they said it radically affects the tribal-federal relationship.

"It's going to change the way the bureau does business in Indian education," said Lorena Zah Bahe, executive director of the Navajo Nation Community Controlled School Boards, yesterday.

Coming in the midst of a nationwide push to reform public schools under the No Child Left Behind Act, the reorganization realigns the Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP). Although the act requires OIEP director Bill Mehojah to report to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs, he would instead be placed under a new "principal" assistant secretary.

Some tribal leaders and educators say they can live with that change. But plans to strip OIEP of its school administrative functions and parcel them to other parts of the BIA are drawing opposition.

Nedra Darling, a BIA spokesperson, said the changes would help the OIEP oversee the education of nearly 50,000 Indian children at 185 schools, which enjoy a close relationship with locally- and tribally-driven school boards. Moving contracting, personnel and other functions "frees up" people to work only on Indian education programs, she argued.

But at the same time, critics said the BIA is getting ready to use program funds earmarked for emergencies -- such as fires and repairs -- for administrative uses. Tucked in the $397 billion omnibus appropriations act signed into law last month is a provision that allows Secretary of Interior Gale Norton to redirect these moneys for a tribal consultation effort under the reform act.

"To use even one dollar of the [BIA] funds for anything other than education programs or emergencies would be a callous disregard of your responsibility to Indian students, who suffer from inadequate funding in all aspects of their education," wrote Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele in a letter to Norton last week.

Vern Duus, a legislative analyst for the NIEA, called the provision "a surprise." "This is an improper act," he said in an interview.

Last year, the Department of Interior held consultation sessions over a 10-month period about the reorganization. But Indian education was never discussed. Separately, OIEP held a series of meetings last summer on the No Child Left Behind Act but reorganization was not a topic.

Bahe, who is also a Navajo Nation council delegate, argued that the changes -- which she characterized as top-heavy -- are in contravention to the mandates of the law. "Let's concentrate on the No Child Left Behind Act," she said. "Let's really look at the changes we need to make at the local level."

Relevant Links:
National Indian Education Association - http://www.niea.org
Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA - http://www.oiep.bia.edu

Related Stories:
Norton says trust forced 'tough choices' in budget (02/12)
Bush budget restricts spending on Indian Country (02/10)
Opinion: Don't Leave Indian children behind (01/31)
Tribal-federal effort targets Indian education (11/15)
Controversial BIA school proposal dropped (05/16)
Leave no Indian child behind (5/15)
Court to decide limits of trust duty (4/23)
Bush school proposal faces tribal debate (3/19)
McCaleb: Bush helping education (3/7)
Bush proposal strips BIA of education (2/5)
Bush school proposal criticized (2/5)
GAO report finds failing BIA schools (10/29)
Final BIA school goes online (8/24)
Norton, McCaleb to address Indian educators (7/23)
Norton pushes Indian school construction, reform (7/17)
Norton to visit Indian school (7/16)
Norton to visit Indian Country (4/25)
Tribal Schools on Priority List (2/16)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

Native Sun News: First Nations Sculpture Garden breaks ground (8/28)
Native Sun News: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe misses Cobell deadline (8/28)
James Giago Davies: There's trouble brewing on the racist horizon (8/28)
Simon Moya-Smith: A Republican slur on our indigenous relatives (8/28)
Kyle Mays: Connections between Creole and Native communities (8/28)
Mike Myers: Tribes deserve our own seats on international level (8/28)
Opinion: Supreme Court should pass on Jim Thorpe NAGPRA case (8/28)
Navajo Nation to reopen irrigation canal after Gold King mine spill (8/28)
Native executive wasn't surprised by 'No Natives please' rental ad (8/28)
Tribal members in Minnesota assert treaty right to gather wild rice (8/28)
County hopes to revive foreclosure lawsuit against Cayuga Nation (8/28)
Washington Supreme Court affirms legality of tribal gas compacts (8/28)
County sheriff questions authority of tribal officers in New Mexico (8/28)
Nooksack Tribe concerned about impact of slowly melting glaciers (8/28)
Supreme Court Justice Thomas favors conservative leaning briefs (8/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe prepares for decision on gaming plan (8/28)
San Manuel Band hires executive director for gaming commission (8/28)
Kumeyaay Nation still waiting to repatriate ancestors despite win (8/27)
IHS plans to expand service area for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (8/27)
Native Sun News: Health workers join together for race relations (8/27)
Ivan Star: Oglala Sioux government fails majority of our people (8/27)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump isn't the only crazy one in the race (8/27)
Harlan McKosato: Isleta Pueblo opposes city development plan (8/27)
Julianne Jennings: People of color must unite for justice or else (8/27)
Hillary Clinton campaign reaches out to tribal voters in Nevada (8/27)
EPA releases internal report into Gold King Mine spill disaster (8/27)
Southern Ute Tribe hosts top DOJ officials at crime conference (8/27)
Paper must ask to attend Eastern Cherokee council meetings (8/27)
Koi Nation praises charges against man accused of looting site (8/27)
Pokagon Band breaks ground on village with housing complex (8/27)
Tribes provide fire services on and off reservations in California (8/27)
Chumash Tribe signs new Class III casino compact in California (8/27)
Tohono O'odham Nation heading back in court in casino lawsuit (8/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community announces $100M casino expansion (8/27)
Lower Sioux Indian Community debuts $22M casino expansion (8/27)
Little Traverse Bay Bands plan new development at old casino (8/27)
Seminole Tribe wins major ruling in taxation dispute in Florida (8/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on EPA mine spill (8/26)
Indian Health Service to hold a second meeting for LGBT issues (8/26)
Obama picks for National Advisory Council on Indian Education (8/26)
Native Sun News: Lakota grandmother debuts film about uranium (8/26)
Native Sun News: Miss Crow Fair thanks family for strong support (8/26)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Beware of vicious and deadly gossip on rez (8/26)
Former Navajo Nation leaders blamed for lack of women's shelter (8/26)
Man charged with murder of Crow Tribe couple could face death (8/26)
Former executives charged with theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (8/26)
Northern Arapaho Tribe asks Obama to drop appeal in eagle case (8/26)
more headlines...

Advertisement

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.