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In The Hoop
APRIL 19, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Neal McCaleb
Times, they are a-changing.

When Kevin Gover was appointed to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1997, relatively few papers reported the announcement. Gover lived in Albuquerque at the time, so New Mexico papers picked it up. (A New York Times columnist did raise the interest of the mainstream media when he made some remarks, later discredited, about Gover's casino ties. But we'll leave that for another In The Hoop.)

This time, newspapers across the nation eagerly reported Tuesday's announcement of Neal McCaleb to head the agency. The Oklahoman went front page with it and managed to get a tiny peep out of McCaleb beyond his prepared statement. Thanks for the in-depth, hard-hitting reporting!

But save for The Native Times, whose coverage provided some local insight into a man who once advocated building a highway through a Kickapoo burial ground, most were rehashes of press releases and canned statements which yours truly managed to get online before anyone else.

Meanwhile, The Las Vegas Review Journal said "incompetence" at the BIA tipped the scale in favor of McCaleb and his management skills. The Boston Globe said McCaleb was chosen because he has no gaming experience and we all know the Globe is an expert on Indian policy. (Just ask Michael Anderson.)

Surprisingly, Suzan Shown Harjo made the most sensible comment on Monday and said on Native America Calling that Indian Country needs McCaleb's infrastructure experience. Look for nice roads at a casino near you!

(Incidentally, Indianz.Com went to look for Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Chairman Tex Hall, but he was out breaking ground on a new bridge near New Town, North Dakota, on Tuesday. Goodbye Four Bears Bridge!)

In the Hoop would like to attribute the McCaleb stories to increased coverage of the agency as a whole. But the real truth is that the BIA is a great and powerful organization with plans on dominating the world. Wait, that was under President Jackson...

Native Hawaiians
Speaking of colonization, did anyone notice McCaleb mentioned Native Hawaiians? Does this mean Native Hawaiians will be brought under the auspices of the BIA? Or will there an Bureau of Hawaiian Affairs?

In The Hoop is holding out for a Bureau of Haoley Affairs.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Where in the world was Senator Nighthorse Campbell on Tuesday? His staff gave Indianz.Com conflicting reports. If he is working on a new jewelry project or other creative endeavor, we're all ears. But most likely, he was raising funds for that upcoming run like every other Senator these days.

Its the Economies Stupid
Why was the exact title of McCaleb's Reagan-era committee conveniently misnamed by the White House? Indianz.Com wasn't fooled by such common PR trickery. Read our coverage, in case you missed it.

So will anyone press McCaleb on his former positions? Maybe. In The Hoop has learned someone from the Interior wants a copy of the controversial report he signed onto that recommended dismantling the BIA.

But even fellow committee member, former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Ross Swimmer, said he had changed his mind about the issue just one year later. He just so happened to have been nominated to run the BIA, that's all.

In Your Hoop
Got a tip? Have some insight? You might be published here. Email In the Hoop.