Interior Dept. Sets Up Tribal Councils

WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) — Tribal consultation teams are being set up in each Bureau of Indian Affairs region, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Thursday.

Larry Echo Hawk, the assistant secretary in charge of Indian affairs, notified federally recognized tribes of the plan in a letter sent Tuesday and asked for nominations for the councils, the department said. Each team is to include 12 tribal representatives and alternates as well as a representative of the department.

“I am pleased to announce that we have reached the next stage in the Interior Department’s plan of actions to establish a comprehensive, department-wide policy on tribal consultation,” Salazar said. “Now that the Department is ready to establish the Consultation Team that will draft the new policy, I want to underscore the importance and urgency of responding to the call for tribal nominations so that we can move forward expeditiously.”

The plan implements an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton in November 2000 directing federal departments to develop policies on cooperating with Indian tribes.

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