FROM THE ARCHIVE
NPR covers BIA overhaul trust fund
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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2001

National Public Radio on Monday published two news segments on the Indian trust controversies at the Department of Interior.

One report focuses on the controversial proposal to strip the Bureau of Indian Affairs of its trust responsibilities and hand them to a new agency. The report is based mostly on the happenings at last month's National Congress of American Indians in Spokane, Washington, and the opposition Bush officials saw there.

It is during this report that McCaleb is quoted as saying the court defined a timetable that forced the Interior not to consult with tribes. He also questioned whether a receiver would end the government-to-government relationship with tribes.

"I mean, it'd be a lot easier for the Department of Interior just to say, 'Let the judge appoint a separate receiver,' but what happens to the sovereign to sovereign relationship when that happens?" wondered McCaleb.

The other report is on Secretary of Interior Gale Norton's contempt trial, which started yesterday. It includes a comment from Herbert Fenster, the private attorney who is helping defend Norton from the charges.

Fenster tells NPR reporter Emily Harris (transcribed from Real Audio): "I think what we are seeing here is the secretary of the Department of the Interior relying on the reports of subordinates and the allegation that those reports on which she relied were not accurate."

"That is not a basis for contempt," says Fenster.

Fenster, however, does not explain why Norton didn't make sure those reports were accurate.

Both segments aired as part of NPR's "Morning Edition" program.

Get the Story:
Audio: Bush Trust Fund Plan (NPR 12/10)
Text: Trust Fund Plan (12/10)
Audio: Interior Chief Faces Contempt of Court Charges (NPR 12/10)
Text: Contempt of Court (12/10)

Relevant Links:
Morning Edition, NPR - http://www.npr.org/programs/morning
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://indiantrust.doi.gov
Office of the Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Trust Management Improvement Project - http://www.doi.gov/bia/trust/tmip.htm
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com

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