McCaleb hosting consultation on BIA overhaul
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Tribal leaders from throughout Indian Country have hit the traveling consultation wagon again, taking their opposition to a proposed reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to Minneapolis, Minnesota, today.

There, Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb and his top aide Wayne Smith will host what is billed as the second consultation session on the creation of a new Indian trust agency. Tribal leaders have unanimously denounced the Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management (BITAM), saying it is a poorly crafted solution to mismanagement of their assets.

So far, though, the Bush administration has refused to scrap the plan. Telling tribal leaders to accept it or watch a federal court hijack their sovereignty, the Department of Interior is challenging them to come up with an alternatives.

To help develop those ideas, tribal leaders have formed a nationwide trust reform task force. Secretary Gale Norton accepted the idea last week at a consultation meeting she attended in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the issue will be discussed today.

The Interior won't be holding any more sessions this year. The remaining five are scheduled as follows:
  • Oklahoma City, Okla., January 3, 2002
  • Rapid City, South Dakota, January 10, 2002
  • San Diego, Calif., January 17, 2002
  • Anchorage, Alaska, January 23, 2002
  • Washington, D.C., February 1, 2002
The House Committee on Resources will be holding an oversight hearing on trust reform on February 6, 2002. Tribal leader expect the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold its own hearing around the same time.

Currently, the building that houses the Indian panel is shut down due to lingering doubts that anthrax spores could still be present and sicken Congressional staffers and members.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Judge questions role in trust fund 'circus' (12/20)

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

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