'No Road Map': Leader of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe testifies about reorganization

WEBCAST: No Road Map, No Destination, No Justification: The Implementation and Impacts of the Reorganization of the Department of the Interior.

With the help of a tribal leader and maybe the Trump administration, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives will try to get to the bottom of a reorganization at the Department of the Interior.

A hearing on Tuesday morning attempts to understand the controversial initiative, which was announced to much fanfare two years ago. Due to opposition from tribes, however, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education are being excluded from a new "unified" system of regions throughout the entire department.

"As we listened, it was clear enough that you did not want to be part of that unified region, and you're not," David Bernhardt,who is the newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior, told tribal leaders in February . "So the BIA and the BIE regions have remained intact and I can assure you that they will remain intact as we move forward with any plans to improve the Department of the Interior."

Despite the concession, tribes haven't been told how the BIA and the BIE will be impacted by the restructuring. Both agencies must still work with other agencies, bureaus and offices at DOI but it's not clear how that will happen if every other entity is placed in the new regional system while Indian Country is not.

Additionally, tribes also work with those same agencies, bureaus and offices. So far, they haven't been told how the reorganization will affect their government-to-government relationship with the U.S.

"In many meetings with the government, they try to divide us," Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe said in remarks to a meeting of the United South and Eastern Tribes last month, during which the reorganization was one of the most discussed issues.

"They give us crumbs and try to get us to fight over them, but we have a choice to look beyond that and fight to stay united as one nation, the Native American nation," said Frazier, who is testifying at the reorganization hearing on Tuesday morning.

The hearing takes place at 10am Eastern In Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building. It is being conducted by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, a new panel that was created by Democrats when they took control of the House at the beginning of the 116th Congress.

Oversight and Investigations is part of the House Committee on Natural Resources, whose jurisdiction includes Indian issues. The new Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States was established by Democrats as part of that mission.

The reorganization hearing will be webcast. The witness list follows:
Mr. Scott Cameron
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget
U.S. Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Harold Frazier
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Eagle Butte, South Dakota

Mr. Michael Bromwich
Founder and Managing Principal, The Bromwich Group
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Jamie Clark
President and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife

House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Notice
No Road Map, No Destination, No Justification: The Implementation and Impacts of the Reorganization of the Department of the Interior. (April 30, 2018)

Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, center left, talks with fellow leaders at a meeting of the United South and Eastern Tribes in Arlington, Virginia, on March 4, 2019. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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