Trust reform update sheds some light
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As tribal leaders work to come up with alternatives to the Bush administration's proposed, and opposed, reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a key question about the status of various trust reform projects has been raised.

Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians, brought up the issue in Oklahoma earlier this month when he said tribes needed an accurate picture of the effort in order to develop their ideas. Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb responded that the department would make available its quarterly reports to a tribal task force, acknowledging there have been doubts about the information contained in them.

But while U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sorts out that charge during Norton's contempt trial, tribes will be depending heavily on the 8th report, released and signed personally by the Secretary last week. Along with an assessment by EDS Corporation containing a timeline, or roadmap, to implementing trust reform recommendations, the documents are the tribes' best bet for obtaining information which in the past, to use the words of Lamberth, has been cloaked in "subterfuge."

The EDS report is due to finalized on Thursday while the department sorts out internal concerns about it. In the meantime, here are highlights of the first five sections of the report, with others coming later this week.

Secretary's Observations | Special Trustee Observations | Trust Transition Observations | Departmental Organization | Historical Accounting

Get the Report:
Status Report to the Court Number Eight (1/16)

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

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