Director of the BIA, assistant secretary of the Interior, Indian affairs in the Missoulian’s neck of the woods this week.
Here’s the full story of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on reservation roads from Vince Devlin:
Michael S. Black, Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs/Courtesy BIA
POLSON – Almost three-quarters of the roads on American Indian reservations are unpaved, yet too much of the federal money meant to rectify that goes to states and urban tribes that don’t need it, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester was told repeatedly Friday.
Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, took testimony on the issue at a field hearing at KwaTaqNuk Resort – the first time a U.S. senator has convened a committee hearing on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
The first of two panels to testify included some heavy hitters from Washington, D.C., including Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk, and Michael Black, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
But it was the second panel, of Montana and Wyoming tribal leaders critical of the current system, which was most interesting.
The Rocky Mountain region, with the largest land-based tribes and most miles of roadways, has actually lost money under the system, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman E.T. “Bud” Moran charged.
His Flathead Reservation has seen federal money for roads decline, from $1.3 million in 2006, to $750,000 this year, Moran said.
“I don’t understand how that’s possible,” Moran said, “and why the BIA hasn’t stopped it.”
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Here’s the entire story by Ben Neary of the Associated Press. Click here to see statements by various tribes opposing the amendment.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. (AP photo)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Leaders of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes say a Wyoming senator’s proposed amendment would derail a pending $3.4 billion federal settlement with American Indians nationwide.
Leaders of the Wyoming tribes wrote to U.S. Senate leaders on Wednesday. The tribes say the amendment sponsored by Republican Sen. John Barrasso would block settlement of the long-running Cobell trust lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses the federal government of mismanaging revenues held in trust for Indian landowners.
Barrasso says his amendment would cap attorney fees at $50 million and strengthen the settlement. The Obama administration has warned passing the amendment could kill the settlement.
The Senate hasn’t scheduled a vote on the amendment.