Yellow Bird: The BIA and its broken promises
"Tribal nations and the federal government have a long history of discord and friction there is no question about that. Recently, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as an agent of the federal government, began a movement toward change in Indian country. But friction is increasing, and the BIA seems to be finding it hard to roll over tribes.

The BIA is an office under the Department of Interior that deals with more than 563 tribes. Most tribes have an Indian agency that deals directly with them based on treaties and other agreements. The Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1886 are specifically for the Sioux groups and Three Affiliated Ttribes. The treaties designate large portions of what is now North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to tribes as their territory.

Oops, the feds said years later. That's too much land for tribes. They needed it immediately, so the federal government took the land and promised the tribes other services.

In those treaties, tribes were treated (and rightly so) as sovereign nations, which means the federal government recognized a government-to-government relationship not unlike the state and federal governments' relationship.

The broken promise of that government-to-government relationship is what offended the tribes when Carl Artman, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for Indian affairs and a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, did not appear at regional meetings. The meetings, he had said, were for an "Indian Affairs Modernization Initiative." Twelve meetings with tribes were scheduled to be held in September throughout the country. "

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: Reform moves slowly with BIA (The Grand Forks Herald 10/6)
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