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Indian affairs bureau warns of changes with pending retirements

Billings, Montana (AP) 9-07

Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs say the agency faces profound changes in coming years as about half its work force becomes eligible to retire within the next decade.

More than 50 representatives from tribes across the region met September 22nd with agency officials in Billings. The meeting was one in a series being held with tribes nationwide as the agency seeks to modernize its operations.

Robert Middleton is director of the agency’s Office of Energy and Economic Development. He says the pending retirements will drain the BIA of institutional knowledge. Middleton and others from the agency are asking tribal leaders for advice on how to restructure their organization to deal with the changes.

Suggestions for improvement included decentralizing the BIA’s resources, helping tribes deal with land that is under split ownership and providing economic development assistance to address the chronic poverty on many reservations.


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