Trust reform update sheds some light
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Departmental Reorganization
Verified by Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles, who took office in July 2001, this section acknowledges the objections raised by tribes to the trust overhaul. He also reveals, without too much detail, some of the background that went into the proposal.

During August meetings over the fiscal year 2003 budget, "various proposals and issues" regarding trust management at the BIA and the Office of the Special Trustee (OST) were raised, according to Griles. BIA and OST were told their budget requests had to be tied to their performance, Griles notes.

Discussions continued and in September, OST raised the issue of whether it should be overseeing reform and implementing reform. Soon after, an "internal working group" was formed to discuss the various concerns, and out of this group came a proposal to reorganize.

Griles does not give a date as to when this happened, only writing that it occurred while "EDS was undertaking its own independent, expert evaluation." But in the last week of October, EDS gave top officials a draft of its first report, which included the recommendation to create a single, accountable "executive sponsor" for trust reform.

That report was finalized November 12, two days before the reorganization proposal was sent to a federal court. Griles then says Norton was given "various organizational options," from which she selected BITAM. Griles then says EDS endorsed the decision.

Griles also notes that a request to reprogram $300 million in BIA and OST funds to BITAM is on hold pending consultation.

Secretary's Observations | Special Trustee Observations | Trust Transition Observations | Departmental Reorganization | 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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