Norton testifies before House panel
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Secretary of Interior Gale Norton testified today for nearly two hours before a packed hearing of the House Resources Committee.

The turnout was so large that a second room handled overflow traffic. All listened intently as Norton explained why she hatched her Indian trust reorganization without tribal consultation and why 90 percent of her computer systems remain shut down.

Norton responded, evasively at times, to questions by members on both sides of the aisle who had doubts about the overhaul. A number, including Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), noted the negative impact of the shutdown on Indian beneficiaries.

After her rounds of questioning were complete, Norton left the hearing. Special Trustee Tom Slonaker, Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb, Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason and Trust Transition Chief Ross Swimmer stayed for the remainder.

Interior Solicitor Bill Myers made an appearance. Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles did not attend as he was testifying in the contempt trial a few blocks away in federal court.

Two panels of tribal, individual and trust representatives followed. After a couple of breaks for House votes, the hearing ended at approximately 4 p.m.

Get the Story:
Norton Plan for Indian Trusts Meets With Skepticism on Hill (The Washington Post 2/7)
House committee hears testimony on Native trust fund (The Lincoln Journal Star 2/7)
Rahall wants to reform American Indian trusts (The Charlestown Gazette 2/7)
Indians seek to block Norton plan (The Las Vegas Review-Journal 2/7)
Norton says trust reform to cost hundreds of millions (The Denver Post 2/7)
American Indians want trust fund managed independently (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 2/7)
Norton blasted for trust fund fiasco (The Great Falls Tribune 2/7)
Norton Optimistic About Indian Fund (AP 2/7)
Activists Blast Plan to Reform Indian Trust Fund (Scripps-McClatchy News Service 2/7)
Interior Dept says no end in sight for Web site woes (Reuters 2/6)

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

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