Statement of Secretary Gale Norton
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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2002

The following is a statement by Secretary of Interior Gale Norton on Tom Slonaker's resignation as Special Trustee for American Indians, and Donna Erwin's appointment as Acting Special Trustee. July 30, 2002.

"Tom has had the extraordinary experience that few Americans have of serving two different Administrations in senior position in government. His service came at a time of significant activity in Indian trust issues and I thank him for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors."

"I am delighted that Donna has agreed to serve as the Acting Special Trustee. Her private sector trust and financial management experience, her extensive work within the Department of the Interior and her Native American background make Donna the ideal person to lead our continuing efforts to provide the trust services that Indian beneficiaries deserve. Donna will have my complete support and full authority to carry out the statutory responsibilities of the Office of Special Trustee and to work closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian tribes and individual beneficiaries."

"Ms. Erwin has 33 years of experience in all facets of private and public trust and fiduciary duties, including administration, operations and investments. She has worked for the past 10 years at the Department of the Interior in a series of increasing responsibility, including service as the Director of Trust Funds Management and Deputy Special Trustee for Systems and Projects in the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians."

"Her private sector experience includes eight years working at Boatmen's Sunwest Bank, in Albuquerque, N.M. Her last position there was Vice President and Trust Officer. She served in various capacities as a personal trust administrator and as manager of trust operations. She established the trust department's oil and gas division, served on the trust division's planning committee, oil and gas review committee and was responsible for the evaluation of the trust operations of acquired banks."

"Ms. Erwin has also been an independent consultant advising trust departments on operational deficiencies, evaluation of trust systems and workflows."

"From 1969 to 1982, Ms. Erwin worked for the Bank of Oklahoma where her last position there was Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer. She managed the trust operations and oil and gas divisions. She also served on several trust fund management committees."

"Ms. Erwin is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma."

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