Gover: Tribal voice 'dramatically weaker'
Facebook Twitter Email

Tribes will lose their single biggest advocate in the federal government once the Bush administration completes its reorganization of the Department of Interior, former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Gover said today.

By taking away trust duties from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the power of the Assistant Secretary has been "dramatically weakened," said Gover, who served for three years in the post under former President Clinton.

"To divide the power of the Assistant Secretary," he said, "is to really destroy his ability to use his influence for the good of Indian Country."

He added: "The Bureau has been badly diminished and therefore its ability to help the tribes has been badly diminished."

Before any changes are made, Gover said, the Bush administration must engage in serious consultation with tribes to make sure Indian Country is on board with the proposed Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management. Anything else would be a "sham," he said.

"That kind of decision cannot be made without working with the tribes," he said.

Graphic: New Indian Agency: Draft Organizational Chart

Today on Indianz.Com:
Developing: BIA stripped of trust duties (11/15)
Interior might need year on new agency (11/15)
Objections voiced over trust fund choice (11/15)
Norton challenges contempt charges (11/15)

Relevant Links:
Office of the Special Trustee -
Trust Management Improvement Project -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -

Related Stories:
Trust fund security document filed (11/14)
Interior mum on trust fund report (11/13)
Norton hires own defense lawyer (11/9)
Norton told to appoint trust fund receiver (11/7)
Griles taking lead on trust reform (11/5)
Norton's defense off to a 'bad start' (11/2)
Judge ready to hold Norton in contempt (10/31)
Interior promises trust fund defense (10/31)
Judge: Norton's actions 'contemptuous' (10/30)
Trust fund defense team scrapped (10/30)
Action on Norton urged 'on all fronts' (10/29)
Norton views broken trust fund system (10/29)