Interior Department updates information about trust reform talks

Interior Department officials take part in a listening session in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 3, 2016. Photo by US Department of the Interior via Flickr

The Obama administration is moving forward with talks about a new trust reform law that's widely supported in Indian Country.

Starting this month, the Interior Department will host a series of consultations and listening sessions about H.R.812, the Indian Trust Asset Reform Act. The meetings run through mid-September so the process is moving quickly as the administration draws to a close.

"We look forward to your input on our plans for implementing this historic act," Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, the second-in-command at Interior, wrote in a July 13 letter to tribes.

Tribes lobbied for the new law because it could lead to the dismantling of the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians. They are hoping that the agency's functions -- along with its budget and personnel -- will be returned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Another provision calls for the creation of the Under Secretary for Indian Affairs at the department. But nothing will happen overnight and it will be up to the next administration to determine how to fully implement the new law.

Additional details about the outreach effort was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. The schedule follows:
• August 17 - Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Airport Drive, Green Bay, Wisconsin
• August 22 -  Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel, 2910 Yale Boulevard SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico
• August 26 - Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
• August 29 - Henry M. Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue, North Auditorium, Seattle, Washington
• August 31 - Billings Hotel and Convention Center, 1223 Mullowney Lane, Billings, Montana
• September 7 - Osage Event Center, 951 West 36th St. N., Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma
• September 9 - Convention Center at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, 1201 Northwest Ave., Sioux Falls, South Dakota
• September 12 - Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32-250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs, California
• September 19 - Teleconference

Federal Register Notices:
Tribal Consultation and Listening Sessions on Indian Trust Asset Reform Act (August 3, 2016)
Tribal Consultation and Listening Sessions on Indian Trust Asset Reform Act (July 20, 2016)

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