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News by Year

Press Release

The Interior Department is requesting budget increases for fiscal 1983 to continue construction of essential water projects in the West, upgrade deteriorated facilities at national parks, and improve access to energy and other minerals on multiple-use Federal lands, Secretary of the Interior James Watt said today.

Another significant budget initiative is increased grants to States for surface mining regulation and abandoned mine land restoration, the Secretary said.

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Press Release

Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Roy H. Sampsel, will begin negotiations February 10 with Alaskan state officials in Juneau for the transfer of 37 Bureau of Indian Affairs schools to the state education system.

In addition to the 37 elementary schools located in Alaska Native villages, the Bureau now operates one boarding high school, Mt. Edgecumbe, at Sitka, Alaska it is expected that Mt. Edgecumbe would continue operation at least through the 1982-83 school year to allow the state to develop suitable alternative plans for the high school students.

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Press Release

Secretary Watt announced today that William "Perry" Pendley will be the Acting Director of the new Minerals Management Service in the Department of the Interior. Pendley will retain his current position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Minerals, but in the days to come while the search for a permanent Director is underway, his prime responsibility will be the administration of the Minerals Management Service

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Press Release

Earl J. Barlow, Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Indian Education Programs since 1978, has been appointed Director of the BIA's Minneapolis Area Office, Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Ken Smith announced today. His appointment is effective March 7, 1982.

Barlow, a Blackfeet Indian, is a member of the Federal government's Senior Executive Service.

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Press Release

The Minerals Management Service, created today by Interior Secretary James Watt to ensure the proper and full collection of royalties from Federal and Indian leases, will place renewed emphasis upon efforts to stem royalty fraud and theft in a system producing $5 billion in annual collections.

The basis of the new Service is the Conservation Division of the U.S. Geological Survey, which is being reassigned to report directly to the Under Secretary and an executive group within the Office of the Secretary.

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Press Release

Interior Secretary James Watt today announced a major overhaul of the Interior Department's decades-old system for collecting mineral royalties, to assure recovery of an estimated $200 to $500 million a year in oil and gas royalties believed unreported on Federal and Indian leases.

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Press Release

The United States' top Indian official, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith, told 350 Indian businessmen January 13 that Indian reservations need businesses that are "competent and competitive and are going to endure to provide jobs and services for the community… because they earn the money they make and they also earn respect".

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Press Release

The proposed budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for fiscal year 1983 requests appropriations of $1.05 billion for the operation of Indian programs and construction projects.

The appropriation request for the operation of Indian programs exceeds 1982 funding by $40 million.

Programs receiving increases include school operations, plus $3.7 million; social services, plus $8.3 million; self-determination services, $7.6 million; business enterprise development, $7.9 million, and natural resources development, $9. 5 million.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith today announced a major realignment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' administrative structure. The changes, he said, will improve management efficiency, reduce personnel in central and area offices by 20 percent and reduce overhead costs by $16 million in fiscal year 1983.

Smith said the administrative cuts, coupled with an increase of $55 million in the Bureau of Indian Affairs' 1983 budget request, will result in increased funding of programs at the reservation level.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today that the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) at Santa Fe, New Mexico would be funded and would continue operations for at least the next two years.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith has offered to continue the Bureau of Indian Affairs' operation of 21 village day schools in Alaska in 1982-83.

In a March 10 letter to Alaska Governor Jay Hammond, Smith offered two options, both of which included BIA operation of Mt. Edgecumbe boarding high school for one more year.

Option 1 called for the 1982 transfer of 16 of the 37 village day schools now operated by the BIA and the remaining 21 at the end of 1982-83 school year.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith today appointed six provisional regional directors to a 30-day detail as part of the proposed major realignment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In addition, he named four provisional Assistant Directors of Education for the same period to fill the proposed slots planned under the realignment of the Bureau's education division.

Smith said the new directors will continue the consultation process with tribal leaders on proposed future plans for the Bureau.

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Press Release

A proposed project to develop oil and gas resources within the boundaries of the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Florida would not create significant environmental issues or concerns, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has concluded.

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Press Release

James H. Stevens, a member of the San Carlos Band of Apaches, has been appointed director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Phoenix area office. Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith said that Stevens' appointment would be effective April 4.

Stevens, superintendent of the Bureau's Spokane agency at Wellpinit, Washington, has been detailed twice in the past year to serve in the central office as the acting director of the Office of Trust Responsibilities. He is currently functioning in that capacity now on a detail that began in January.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has announced a series of hearings throughout Indian country on its proposed plans to close all but three of its off-reservation boarding schools. Notice of the hearings is being published in the Federal Register, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith said today.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has published an updated report on American Indian reservations populations. The booklet includes estimates on unemployment.

Dated December, 1981, the report shows a population of 734,895 living on or near Indian reservations, including former reservations in Oklahoma. It also includes 64,047 Eskimos, Aleuts and Indians in Alaska.

The reservation population, which constitutes the BIA's service population, is 52 percent of the 1.4 million total Indian population counted in the 1980 census.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indi an Affairs has officially closed its Office of Technical Assistance and Training (OTAT) at Brigham City, Utah 1 Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today.

Smith said the document abolishing OTAT, a unit in the BIA’s central office structure, was signed March 16 and that approximately 72 employees would receive general reduction in force (RIF) notices at an employee meeting to be held today.

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Press Release

Although millions of Federal dollars have been spent over the past 20 years on economic development on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the reservation's economy is, at best, only marginally better according to a recently released review conducted by the Interior Department's Inspector General.

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Press Release

A proposed project to develop oil and gas resources within the boundaries of the Miccosukee Indian Reservation in Florida would not create significant environmental issues or concerns, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has concluded.

The BIA has prepared an environmental assessment on a proposal by Natural Resource Management Corporation, Tesoro Petroleum Corporation and American Quasar Petroleum Company to engage in explorations, development and production activity for oil and gas on the reservation.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will transfer fifteen Alaskan village day schools to the state school system at the end of this school year. Deputy Assistant Secretary John Fritz ordered the transfer completed by June 15.

The move is part of a plan to transfer all BIA schools in Alaska to the state.

In 1982-83, the BIA will operate 22 village schools and one boarding high school in Alaska. At the end of that year the high school will be closed and the village schools transferred to the state.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has announced that it is publishing in the Federal Register, April 21, 1982, proposed regulations to govern the preparation of a membership roll of the Pribilof Islands Aleut Communities of St. Paul and St. George. The roll to be prepared will serve as a basis for a per capita distribution of judgment funds awarded to the communities by the U. S. Court of Claims.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed to provide neutral observers for the May 26 election of officials of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota.

Roy Sampsel, Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, said the four Departmental and BIA observers are being provided at the request of Band officials. "We will make technical assistance available regarding the conduct of balloting to choose three officers and four district representatives to serve four-year terms on the Band's governing body,” he added.

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Press Release

Public hearings to obtain comments on a proposed reservation plan for the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah have been scheduled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This plan has been recommended to the Secretary of the Interior by the Paiute Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued a finding of no significant environmental impact from a proposed project to drill for oil or gas on land adjacent to the Coushatta Indian Reservation, in Louisiana.

The proposal calls for the drilling of a well on private land that is close enough to the Indian's trust land, that it would become part of the producing unit if oil or gas are located.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has determined that a proposed wood supply agreement between the Penobscot Indian Tribe of Maine and the Lincoln Pulp and Paper Company, Inc., would have no significant impact on the environment.

An environmental assessment, prepared by the Bureau, indicates that some short-term environmental effects on land on wildlife resources would result from the timber harvesting, but would be typical of those encountered elsewhere in nearby locations in Maine where timber harvesting regularly occurs.

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Press Release

The Crow Tribe of Montana, which received $11.6 million in federal and state contracts and earned $10.9 million from mineral and grazing leases and interest during fiscal years 1980 and 1981, was in a state of technical insolvency as of September 30, 1981, according to Department of the Interior Inspector General Richard Mulberry.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is publishing in the Federal Register proposed revisions in the regulations governing fishing on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in northern California

The most significant change is the ban on gill net fishing during the fall chinook run from 9 a.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Wednesday of each week and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

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Press Release

Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Ken Smith today announced a reorganization of the BIA's administrative structure that will create a $16 mi ion annual saving and "move the Indian agency a long way toward its goal of making as much of its budget as possible available for funding of programs at the reservation level."

The reorganization consolidates the BIA's 12 area offices into five regional service centers located at Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anadarko, Oklahoma; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Phoenix, Arizona; and Portland, Oregon.

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Press Release

The Interior Department’s Indian Arts and Crafts Hoard announced today publication of a new 32-page Source Directory of interest to potential customers for authentic Native American arts and crafts.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today new assignments for four Bureau of Indian Affairs area directors all of them members of the Federal Government's senior executive service.

The new appointments are as follows:

Sidney Mills, the Albuquerque area director, has been named director of the Bureau's Office of Trust Responsibilities in Washington, D. C.

Vincent Little, director of the Bureau's Portland, Oregon area office, replaces Mills in Albuquerque.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today new assignments for four Bureau of Indian Affairs area directors all of them members of the Federal Government's senior executive service.

The new appointments are as follows:

Sidney Mills, the Albuquerque area director, has been named director of the Bureau's Office of Trust Responsibilities in Washington, D. C.

Vincent Little, director of the Bureau's Portland, Oregon area office, replaces Mills in Albuquerque.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is publishing in the Federal Register July 15, 1982, regulations governing treaty Indian fishing · for sockeye and pink salmon in Fraser River waters coming under the Convention between the United States and Canada.

The regulations are designed to be consistent with the United States' obligations to Canada under the Fraser River Convention and with the obligation to the treaty tribes to provide the opportunity to catch one-half of the United States' share of the fish.

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Press Release

Interior Secretary James Watt, responding to the President's instructions, today announced formation of a Policy Advisory Group and negotiating teams to spearhead his Department's effort to achieve negotiated settlements for the more than 50 outstanding lawsuits over Indian water claims.

"President Reagan has forcefully indicated his concern that these suits-- which have stalled essential economic progress in both Indian and non-Indian areas--be settled quickly through negotiated settlements that are equitable to all parties," Watt said.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has announced that it is publishing in the Federal Register, July 21, 1982, regulations to govern the preparation of a membership roll of the Pribilof Islands Aleut Communities of St. Paul and St. George. The roll to be prepared will serve as a basis for a per capita distribution of judgment funds awarded to the communities by the U.S. Court of Claims.

For additional information, contact the Enrollment Coordinator, Enrollment Coordinating Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pouch 7-1971, Anchorage, Alaska 99510, telephone 907/271-3761.

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Press Release

Alaskan land selections by Alaska Native corporations which exceed the acreage to which corporations are entitled may be reduced through procedures proposed in the Federal Register by the Department of the Interior.

Native corporations, entitled to a total of 44 million acres of land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, applied for more acreage than they are entitled to receive during the early 1970s when the Act required them to select lands for possible conveyance.

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Press Release

Revised regulations governing Indian fishing on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation are being published in the Federal Register, July 29, 1982, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith said today.

The regulations, which become effective August 1, ban gillnet fishing during the fall chinook run from 9 a.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Wednesday of each week and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

Proposed regulations were published for review and comment June 1. The Federal Register notice includes information on changes recommended and made and those that were not made.

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Press Release

The Minerals Management Service (MMS has extended the deadline to five days for oil and gas operators to report the startup of production from new wells or wells recompleted in new intervals on Federal and Indian lands.

MMS Director Harold E. Doley, Jr., said the previous one-day deadline for reporting the startup of production to district supervisors was impractical.

"To avoid penalties, operators felt compelled to hand-deliver written notifications, sometimes at great expense," Doley said.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has distributed draft regulations to Indian tribal leaders for two proposed grant programs scheduled to begin in Fiscal Year 1983 (October 1, 1982 - September 30, 1983).

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith asked for an early reaction to the proposed regulations because he intends "to implement these grant initiatives as soon as possible contingent upon appropriations from the Congress.

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Press Release

Continuing a program he initiated in July to speed the settlement of Indian water claims through negotiation rather than litigation, Interior Secretary James Watt will meet today with a delegation of Indian leaders, western industry spokesmen and Governors.

"This is part of our cooperative, Good Neighbor Policy of discussing and negotiating problems facing the Indian tribes, the State and the Federal Governments," Watt said.

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