On the Indian trust bandwagon
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The media was out in force this past Friday at a Washington, D.C.-area hotel for the seventh Indian trust meeting.

Secretary of Interior Gale Norton also made an appearance, speaking for several minutes before she answered a couple of questions from tribal leaders and announced an $83.6 million increase for trust reform at the department. Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles was there, too, until he had to leave during a mid-morning break to attend to other business.

That left Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb and trust transition director Ross Swimmer to hear complaints about the creation of the Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management. Tribes from the Eastern area of the country threw their support behind an alternative drafted by United South and Eastern Tribes (USET).

USET Director Tim Martin, once a candidate for McCaleb's job, spent a good part of the morning going over the proposal. It was a PowerPoint presentation that kept intact the BIA's structure but added an office to deal with four breach of trust projects identified by a federal court.

While this was going on, the tribal leader's task force was having its own meeting. They were preparing to ship off to an Interior conference center in West Virginia for the weekend with Norton, Griles, McCaleb, Swimmer and others.

The task force members then returned yesterday evening to D.C. for more events this week, including a hearing before the House Resources Committee.

Get the Story:
Tribes look for input on trust restructuring (The Lincoln Journal Star 2/4)
Interior officials meet with Native leaders (The Lincoln Journal Star 2/2)
INDIAN TRUST FUND REFORM: Tribes ask Norton to scrap new agency plan (The Las Vegas Review-Journal 2/2)
Norton announces new money for American Indian trust fund as she heads off charges that she mismanaged it (AP 2/1)

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

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