This comment in from Thomas Wabnum:
A Response to: Salazar to Lead Interior Department
Seeking Justice for Indian People: The U.S. lacks an Indian Trust Policy (ITP) that protects Tribes from intrusion and misuse of our money and assets held in trust by the federal government. Our trust funds for our land and assets have been mismanaged by the Department of the Interior over a course of centuries: U.S. courts have repeatedly verified this misuse. The federal government has brokered and breached their trust and responsibility by depleting our land, money, and natural resources for their economic gain. Why change the current policy, as it works in their favor, except that it is unjust
and the funds and holdings in this trust belong to the Indian community.
The U.S. is in the largest and oldest legal mess regarding how Indians have been treated as related to our trusts. As many of you know, Ms. Cobell is the lead plaintiff in the Cobell vs. Kempthorne lawsuit and she is part of the class-action suit against the Department of the Interior. I am fortunate to have lived in a generation of original allotees, sub-allotees and the relentless determination of Ms. Cobell to seek justice for Indian people. I am fortunate to have worked in this era, giving thanks to the Lamberth Court that has dealt with this lawsuit that exposes the federal government’s broken promises through-out our Indian history. I assisted a federal court investigator looking into further destruction of Indian trust records by the Office of Trust Records, where I was employed. I am fortunate to have worked on trust reform and to have challenged a culture of corruption, yet I have been UNFORTUNATE to have witnessed the perpetual failure of federal policy for Indian services.
My opinion would be fruitless if I not had read the “The Indian Peace Commission Report of 1868,” the “Problem of Indian Administration or Meriam Report of 1928,” or the “Misplaced Trust: the BIA’s Mismanagement of the Indian Trust Fund of 1992.”
My opinion would seem vain if I had not lived on allotted lands of the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation, relied upon trust promises or under government programs like boarding school and relocation. My opinion would seem disgruntled if I had not worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Office of the Special Trustee (OST) for American Indians, with an insider’s viewpoint.
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