Norton can reshape BIA

Dec 23, 2002 9:50 PM

U.S. Interior secretary Gale Norton announced last week that Congress approved her plan to reorganize the department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"We were very pleased to receive the Senate letter that provides the go-ahead for us to begin our reorganization," Norton said during a phone conference. "The congressional activity recognizes the exhaustive consultants that we have undertaken."

The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported that Norton made a solo attempt to reorganize the bureau in November 2001, but the tribes unanimously rejected the plan. The BIA oversees services for the nation’s 560 tribes.

Tribal leaders and department officials started meeting in February to discuss the future of the BIA. Norton would also like to re-shape the Office of Special Trustee, created by Congress in 1994.