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News by Year

Press Release

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has asked Congress to appropriate $928.7 million for its 1985 fiscal year programs and projects. This is an increase of $21 million over the 1984 appropriations.

The BIA will receive an additional $100 million for reservation road construction, through the Department of Transportation, under provisions of the Highway Improvement Act of 1982.

The budget also proposes FY 1984 supplemental including $17.0 million for the Ak-Chin Irrigation Project in Arizona and $7.4 million for welfare grants (as a transfer from the construction account).

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Kenneth L. Smith has announced the appointment of new area directors for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at Sacramento, California and Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Maurice W. Babby, area director at Anadarko, has been transferred to the Sacramento office and William P. Ragsdale, assistant area director for economic development in the Phoenix, Arizona area, has been assigned to Anadarko. The BIA has a total of 12 area offices, or regional offices, throughout the United States.

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Press Release

The course of American Indian history was drastically changed, fifty years ago, by the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith told Indian leaders in a letter marking the act's fiftieth anniversary. Smith, a Wasco Indian from Oregon, is the Reagan Administration's top Indian official.

Smith noted that the act "marked a turning point in Federal-Indian relations. It halted or reversed prior policies which had cumulatively proved disastrous for Indians."

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Press Release

Resumption of livestock impoundment by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Hopi partitioned lands in northern Arizona should not deter leaders of the Navajo and Hopi Indian tribes from continuing to work toward a negotiated settlement of their differences, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs John W. Fritz said today.

The Bureau resumed impoundment activities June 12.

"The chairmen of both tribes contacted me and were concerned that the Bureau activities would hamper their on-going attempts to reach agreement," Fritz said.

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Press Release

The Interior Department's Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, John Fritz, ruled today that the attempted removal June 2 of eight members of the business committee of the Wisconsin Winnebago Indian Tribe would not be recognized because procedures required by the tribe's constitution had not been followed.

"We decline to recognize the attempted June 2 removal," Fritz said, "but will recognize the results of a special general council removal hearing conducted in accordance with Wisconsin Winnebago law."

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Press Release

Interior Secretary William Clark today formally transferred the 44-acre site of the former Albuquerque Indian School to the 19· Indian Pueblos of New Mexico.

In ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol, the Secretary witnessed acceptance of the deed to the property by representatives of the 19 Pueblos. Ken Smith Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, earlier this month executed the quitclaim deed which stipulated that acceptance of the property by the Pueblos must be completed no later than August 15.

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Press Release

Interior Assistant Secretary Ken Smith has denied the request of an Oklahoma tribe to have off-reservation land given U.S. trust status to allow the tribe to operate a bingo game free of state regulation.

In rejecting the request of the Kaw Tribe to have five acres of land in Kay County, Oklahoma, taken in trust by the United States, Smith said he considered the legal and political impact on all tribes, not just the tribe making the request.

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Press Release

The Department of the Interior will conduct a series of hearings in late November and early December on the status of Alaska Natives and the implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kenneth L. Smith will preside over hearings at Fairbanks, November 27; Bethel, November 28; and Juneau, November 30.

Deputy under Secretary William P. Horn will conduct hearings in Alaska at Nome, December 3, and Anchorage, December 4.

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Press Release

Interior Secretary William Clark announced today that Kenneth L. Smith, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, has submitted his resignation to President Reagan, effective December 7.

A Wasco Indian from the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, Smith was the first Indian from a reservation background to direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Before coming to Washington in 1981 he served for ten years as the general manager of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation.

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Press Release

The report of the Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies, submitted to the President today, will receive "immediate and thorough review. The Department is committed to improving the economic strength and independence of Indian reservations, 11 Interior Department spokesman Rusty Brashear said today.

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Press Release

John Fritz, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, has approved a joint venture agreement between the Crow Tribe of Montana and a subsidiary corporation of the O'Hare Energy Company of Denver for oil and gas exploration and development on the reservation

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