Home > News > More Headlines > Tribes focus energies on 'core' trust reform issues
Printer friendly version
Tribes focus energies on 'core' trust reform issues
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2003

Meeting without the Bush administration on Thursday, tribal leaders stressed the need to stay united as they move forward with initiatives to reform the broken Indian trust.

Reorganization, litigation and legislation were among the topics discussed at the Washington, D.C., gathering, called by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Tribal leaders said their task force, to operate independently of the Department of Interior, will focus on these and other "core" issues of trust reform.

"That's the beauty of a tribal leader's task force," said NCAI president Tex Hall in an interview after the meeting. "If you work together, you can accomplish those kinds of things."

Throughout the meeting, tribal leaders vented frustration with the Bush administration's reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Office of Special Trustee (OST). Department officials are making significant changes at the national and reservation level that were characterized as bureaucratic bloat.

"When they came to our ancestors to sign treaties, there was only one Great White Father," said Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Daokta.(*) "Now, they are trying to make five or six. We need one place to go."

Another complaint was the shifting of funds to OST, whose budget next year will nearly double from $152 million to $275 million. Attendees said the boost was coming at the expense of other Indian programs and planned meetings with the White House and members of Congress in hopes of limiting the damage.

The task force also discussed working with the plaintiffs in the Cobell trust fund case currently underway in federal court. Although not a party to the case, which concerns individual trust funds, tribes are considering submitting an amicus brief to address, and possibly halt, the reorganization.

Keith Harper, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) attorney on the case, welcomed tribal participation. Presenting an update on the litigation to the task force, he said it was important for Indian Country to stay united.

"We don't support the reorganization because it's a waste of money," Harper said after the meeting. "We do have to stand together."

On legislation, tribes are advancing two trust reform bills. The first would outline trust standards, create a single undersecretary for Indian affairs at the Interior and increase tribal participation in trust management.

Although the Bush administration is opposed to standards, the real meat of the bill, Shenan Atcitty, an attorney working for the Inter-Tribal Monitoring Association (ITMA), said it was necessary to keep the ball rolling. The bill, she added, would also resolve some of the tribes' concerns about the reorganization.

The other piece of legislation, being developed by the California Indian Legal Services, addresses Indian land consolidation and ownership. Lisa Oshiro, an attorney, said the bill would correct amendments, passed by Congress in 2000, that have caused fear among landowners.

"The 2000 amendments really terminated the status of a lot of Indians," she said. The new bill creates a uniform probate, or inheritance, code for landowners.

Although tribes have asked to restart government-to-government talks with the Interior, department officials are already implementing the reorganization. Training sessions for BIA and OST employees were being held across town while the tribes were meeting.

Next month, the two agencies will begin what is being called a "massive outreach program" to educate DOI employees and tribes about the reorganization, which is expected to take about a year to complete. A dozen or so meetings are planned throughout the country but officials acknowledge they are not consultation meetings.

*Ed. Note: The statement was made by Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, not James St. Goddard as was previously reported.

Relevant Links:
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

Office of Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com

Related Stories:
Cobell welcomes a settlement to trust case (5/30)
Tribes gathering for trust reform discussion (5/29)
NCAI's Hall stands by trust reform testimony (5/28)
Reorganization: Meet the 'new' OST (5/28)
Tribes oppose OST expansion into Indian County (5/22)
Swimmer: Don't fear changes at Interior (5/22)
On trust, Swimmer turns to private sector (5/14)
Reorganization: Meet the 'new' BIA (04/30)
DOI begins second transition period on Indian affairs (04/29)
Bunker metality evident in trust reform fight (04/22)
At Interior, Indian affairs in a state of flux (02/11)
BIA agencies face new trust rating system (02/10)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
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.