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Trust Reform meeting scheduled for Bismarck
26 October 2006

BISMARCK (UTN) - The U. S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will host a meeting on Thursday, November 2 at United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, ND, to hear from tribes about issues that Administration officials would like to include in the Cobell settlement legislation now being considered by the Congress.

      A briefing paper released by the committee describes newly proposed provisions for Senate Bill 1439, the Indian Trust Reform Act.

      Since the bill was introduced in July, committee staffs have been meeting with representatives of the plaintiffs, the Administration, and Indian tribes to decide what changes, if any, should be made to the bill.

      The paper, which is available at the Committee's website www.indian.senate.gov, highlights several proposals that have come out of the discussions.

      The Bismarck meeting takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UTTC Barden Center; the public is encouraged to attend.

      According to the briefing paper, to gain support for a multi-billion dollar settlement, "it may be necessary to incorporate significant changes to the management system for Indian trust assets." The changes would not remove the trust status of Indian lands, but would reallocate significant decision-making authority and legal responsibly from the Federal government to tribes and individuals.

      Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs have not yet agreed to any specific concepts that have been suggested. Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Vice Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND) say they want to hear from tribes before deciding how to proceed with the legislation.

      The Bismarck meeting will be the last in a series of additional trust reform meetings held by the committee outside of Washington in October. Other sessions are scheduled with the Indian Land Working Group and the Inter-Tribal Monitoring Association. The committee plans to host a meeting November 9 in Washington, DC.

      With the Senate scheduled to reconvene on November 13, the meetings are important to the committee's consideration of the bill and any amendments during the remainder of the congressional session.

      For more information contact Eamon Walsh 202-224-2251.

      Click here to view a copy of the Briefing Paper in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

 

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