Consultation continues in South Dakota
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The fourth meeting over a proposal to create a new Indian trust agency was held in South Dakota on Thursday and was a repeat of prior sessions in terms of opposition.

But the emotions were much more charged as tribal leader after tribal leader rose to denounce the plan as one crafted without input from Indian Country. They said creating a new Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management (BITAM) would not solve long-running management problems and would create more fractionation.

They also repeatedly blasted Secretary of Interior Gale Norton's decision to hire Ross Swimmer, who ran the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the last three years of the Reagan administration, to make the transition to a new agency. The transition, however, is on hold pending completing of the consultation sessions.

Tribes also offered up alternatives to the BITAM. The Oglala Lakota Tribe of South Dakota proposed creating a Department of Indian Affairs to handle all Indian policy, including trust, health and education.

Development of a task force to develop other proposals also moved forward.

The next meeting is in San Diego, California, on January 17.

Get the Story:
Proposals return trust management to hands of BIA (The Lincoln Journal Star 1/11)
Tribal leaders angered by plan to alter land trusts (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 1/11)
Area tribes dislike BIA plan (The Rapid City Journal 1/11)

More on Task Force:
NCAI: Nominations Needed (1/4)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -

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Editorial: No confidence in Norton plan (1/2)
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Cobell: Justice for Indian Country (12/24)
Tribal leaders blast Norton proposal (12/21)
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