Interior schedules first tribal consultation
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After publicly confusing Indian Country on its stance on the consultation process, the Department of Interior has scheduled the first formal session on a proposal to strip the Bureau of Indian Affairs of its trust responsibilities.

The All Indian Pueblo Council, which represents all 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, will host the first meeting at its Albuquerque office, Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles announced. The session will start at 9:00 a.m. and is expected to last all day.

According to a document Griles signed last Friday, the purpose of the meeting is to "involve affected and interested parties in the process of organizing the Department's trust asset management responsibility functions."

"The Department has determined that there is a need for dramatic change in the management of Indian trust assets," he continues.

Future meetings have not yet been set but Griles said they might occur in Portland, Ore.; Rapid City, S.D.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Washington, D.C., among other locations.

All interested tribes or Indians are invited to the meeting. It is not known if Ross O. Swimmer, who is directing the transition effort, will attend, but his new office is co-hosting the affair along with other Interior offices and agencies.

During a radio appearance last week, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb said "formal consultation" will begin tomorrow at the National Congress of American Indians in Spokane, Washington. A spokesperson later said McCaleb misspoke and that he will only be presenting the proposal to tribal leaders.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Norton failing on trust fund backup (11/27)
Interior cutting off tribal comments (11/27)
BIA collecting Indian preference info (11/27)

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

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