Interior official meets with Alaska Native leaders on trust accounts

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A high level Department of Interior official met with Alaska Native tribal leaders Wednesday to hear concerns about federal management of Indian trust accounts.

Neal McCaleb, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, discussed a newly proposed agency -- the Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management -- that would take over management of the trust funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Alaskans told McCaleb they had short notice of the meeting and little information about the Interior Department's plan for trust reform.

The 50 tribal leaders at the meeting took an informal vote and were unanimously opposed to the department's planned changes to trust management.

The meeting was the sixth in a series held across the country to discuss trust fund reform.

The federal government faces a multibillion dollar lawsuit for allegedly mismanaging trust funds collected from grazing, logging, mining and oil drilling on Native land.

About a thousand individual trust accounts, worth about $11 million, belong to Alaska Natives.

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