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At its public meeting on September 13 and 14, the Commission heard from tribal leaders, representatives of tribal organizations, allottees, and other members of the Indian trust public on ways to improve the Department's handling of its trust responsibilities.
Attendees heard panel presentations on Hard Assets and Trust Reform and Trust Models.
Members of the Hard Assets panel were Jeanne Whiteing, who addressed water rights issues; Tom Fredericks who spoke on strengthening the federal trust responsibility with respect to hard assets; and Helen Sanders, an allottee who provided a landowner's perspective.
The Trust Reform and Trust Models panel members were Mario Gonzalez, who spoke on treaty rights and approaches to the trust responsibility, and Janie Hipp, senior advisor for tribal relations in the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Tribal Relations, who talked about USDA's approach to the trust responsibility and appraisals, the Keepseagle Settlement, and USDA grants.
The youth-outreach event, hosted by United Tribes Technical College President Dr. David Gipp, was very well attended. Commission members heard from students and other concerned Native youth on their views about Indian trust management and administration.
“We had a very productive and informative three days in Bismarck, from learning about the oil and gas leasing challenges at the Fort Bethold Reservation to hearing testimony from tribal leaders, tribal organizations and allottees about ways in which the Department could improve coordination and services to Indian country,”
The Commission has held its meetings via the internet and in person. Its first public meeting took place on March 1-2, in Washington, followed by public webinars on May 16 and August 13, and a public meeting in Albuquerque on July 11-12.
-uture events include a public webinar on November 7 and a public meeting in Seattle, Washington, on December 6-7, 2011. American Indian and Alaska Native tribal leaders, tribal organizations, and individuals are invited to provide recommendations and possible solutions on improving the Department's Indian trust management and administration and the delivery of services to Indian country.
Comments and recommendations may be sent by email to email@example.com.