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News by Year

Press Release

Interior Secretary James Watt, Agricultural Secretary John R. Block and representatives of Chugach Natives, Inc. today signed an agreement that provides for the final major settlement with regional corporations under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). The State of Alaska, also a party to the agreement, will sign shortly. “

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Press Release

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Ken Smith announced that one hundred Indian Tribal leaders, Government Policy Officials and National/ International Travel Leaders will meet to discuss American Indian Tourism Thursday, January 27, 1983.

The meeting, co-sponsored by the Interior Department Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Commerce Department U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA), will be held at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, Virginia.

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Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has asked Congress for $901.4 million dollars for its fiscal year 1984 programs and projects. An additional $100 million is to be provided for reservation road projects under the Highway Improvement Act of 1982 recently enacted by President Reagan.

The $100 million roads allocation through the Department of Transportation "will create thousands of new jobs while helping the reservations build infrastructure for economic development", said Kenneth L. Smith, Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith today approved a joint venture agreement for the development of oil and gas on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.

The contract between the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the reservation and the U.S. Energy corporation was the first contract approved under the new Indian Minerals Development Act of 1982, signed by President Reagan last December.

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Press Release

Interior Secretary James Watt approved on April 4 a coal mining agreement between the Crow Indian Tribe of Montana and the Shell Oil Company.

Under the agreement Shell will begin mining an estimated 210 million tons of coal from a 2,560 acre tract in the Youngs Creek area of the Crow reservation.

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Press Release

More than 6400 man-years of employment will be created on Indian reservations in 27 states by projects to be funded through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) with funds received under the 1983 Emergency Jobs Act, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today.

Smith said that tentative allocations of $114.5 million to reservation projects had been completed and that· the funds would be transmitted to Bureau area offices in the field in the next few days.

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Press Release

A Bureau of Indian Affairs concept paper on reducing costs at the central office and area office levels by consolidating administrative functions and making other changes has been sent to Indian leaders for review and counsel, 'Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith said today.

The concept paper on "streamlining the Bureau of Indian Affairs" has been sent to nine tribal leaders, appointed by NTCA and NCAI in March to function as an Indian Policy Review Team for Smith and Interior Secretary James Watt.

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Press Release

Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Ken Smith, and Federal Highway Administrator Ray A. Barnhart today signed a working agreement on the use of $375 million of Federal highway funds for Indian reservations.

The agreement outlines procedures for the approval of projects, provision of technical assistance, application of Indian preference in hiring, certification standards and other details.

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Press Release

The Cherokee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma and the Suquamish Tribe of Washington are the first recipients of grants awarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under a new economic development initiative started this year, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith announced today. The initiative provides federal funding as seed money to attract private sector investments on reservations.

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Press Release

The Reagan Administration has announced support for a bill to transfer title to 25,000 acres of land within Caja del Rio National Forest to the Indians of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith, testifying before the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee July 26, said the land had been fraudulently taken from the Pueblo in the early 19th century and failure to return it to its rightful owners would be a grave injustice.

The land has "considerable symbolic, religious and economic significance to the Pueblo," Smith said.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Kenneth. L. Smith announced today that Management Concepts, Incorporated (MCI) of Falls Church, Virginia has been awarded a $5 12,000 contract for a detailed study of the results of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).

The Secretary of the Interior, under ANCSA, must report to Congress in 1985 on actions taken to implement the act and the status of Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

Ken Smith, Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, today announced a "major initiative to bring a high level of fiscal accountability to both Indian tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs."

In a letter to tribal leaders across the nation Smith noted that he has received more than 150 audit reports from the Interior Inspector General in the past two years which have identified weaknesses or abuses in tribal or local BIA financial management procedures.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith has approved an economic development grant of $358,666 to a Navajo tribal enterprise for the expansion of a potato production and processing business.

The grant is part of a Bureau of Indian Affairs program to provide "seed money" for the development of profit-making enterprises on Indian reservations. At least 75 percent of the project funds must come from non-federal sources.

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Press Release

Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Ken Smith has assigned Charles Hughes the Bureau of Indian Affair's top financial official, to full time implementation of reforms and improvements which were initiated in the past year in the BIA's management of finances and trust funds

“The scope depth and importance of the efforts and their stage of development now require that these projects receive concentrated attention from all affected Bureau employees including my own office” Smith said.

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Press Release

Kenneth L. Payton, former deputy director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Albuquerque area office, received the Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior today in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Interior Secretary James Watt made the presentation to Payton "in recognition of 32 years of outstanding leadership and superior performance in service to the Indian people and the Bureau of Indian Affairs."

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Press Release

Interior Secretary James Watt cited the Cherokee Historical Association of North Carolina for service to the community at the Interior Department's 49th Awards Convocation in Washington D.C., today.

The Public Service Award of the Department was given to Frank H. Brown, chairman of the Cherokee Historical Association and John A. Crowe, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

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Press Release

Leaders of the Ak-Chin Tribe in Arizona and the Department of Interior have signed an "agreement in principle” for the revision of legislation designed to assure the Tribe of a permanent water supply, provided in an economically efficient manner, according to William P. Horn , Interior Deputy Under Secretary .

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Press Release

The first meeting of the Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies will be held 1n Washington, D. C. October 19-20, Co- Chairmen Robert Robertson and Ross Swimmer announce d today.

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