Mike Black, seated, and Bruce Loudermilk are among dozens of senior officials at the Department of the Interior who are being reassigned by the Trump administration. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
National | Politics

Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department





The three highest-ranking Indian Affairs officials at the Department of the Interior are being reassigned.

Mike Black, the acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Weldon “Bruce” Loudermilk, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Debra L. DuMontier, the acting Special Trustee for American Indians, are part of a massive shakeup affecting dozens of senior officials at Interior, The Washington Post reports. Secretary Ryan Zinke has previously said the department will be undergoing a "bold" reorganization.

But it's not clear where Black, Loudermilk and DuMontier are going. A spokesperson for the BIA didn't have much information because the reassignments are considered personnel matters.

It's also not clear whether Black, who is a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, will continue to serve as the acting Assistant Secretary. President Donald Trump has yet to nominate someone for the job, something his two predecessors had already accomplished by this time in their first terms in office.

Loudermilk, who is a citizen of the Fort Peck Tribes, had just been named director of the BIA last November. Both he and Black are career, not political, employees.

DuMontier, also a career employee, is affiliated with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, according to her biography. She was named acting Special Trustee on January 20 -- her official title is Deputy Special Trustee.

All three are part of the Senior Executive Service program within the federal government. It's common for these executives to be shifted around to different positions.

But tribal leaders have been complaining about the Trump administration's reorganization plans, saying they haven't been told any information. Black tried to address those concerns during a listening session last Monday -- before he was given his reassignment notice.

“We have no plan,” Black told tribal leaders who met on the homelands of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut last week. “I want to hear from you.”

So far, the Trump administration has only filled one political-level Indian Affairs job. Gavin Clarkson, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, began working as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development at the BIA last Monday.

Read More on the Story:
Zinke moving dozens of senior Interior Department officials in shake-up (The Washington Post 6/16)

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Choctaw Nation citizen lands senior job at Bureau of Indian Affairs (June 12, 2017)