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DOI doesn't like what NCAI has to say on trust
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2003

The Department of Interior doesn't think the nation's largest inter-tribal organization should ask the judge overseeing the trust fund lawsuit to address their concerns, according to a recent court filing.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) submitted an amicus brief in the Cobell case. The tribes criticized the Bush administration's trust reform plans.

In a March 14 response, attorneys for Secretary Gale Norton said NCAI makes suggestions that go "far beyond" the lawsuit.

"While NCAI's comments and critique may be appropriate for discussion and consultation between Interior and tribal governments in the broader context of trust asset management reform or other programs, NCAI's brief largely bypasses the specific compliance issues . . . in this litigation," the government wrote.

The government's response also criticizes NCAI for embracing some of the suggestions made by the Cobell plaintiffs. At the same time, the response curiously adopts language the plaintiffs made with respect to "respect for tribal laws."

Norton's lawyers did not want U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth to accept NCAI's brief.

Relevant Documents:
Response to NCAI Brief (March 14, 2003)

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

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