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Secretary Names Bryan Rice Director of Bureau of Indian Affairs

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the selection of Bryan Rice, a veteran federal administrator and citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, as the new Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the federal agency that coordinates government-to-government relations with 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States. 

“Bryan has a wealth of management expertise and experience that will well serve Indian Country as the BIA works to enhance the quality of life, promote economic opportunity, and carry out the federal responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives,” Secretary Zinke said. “I have full confidence that Bryan is the right person at this pivotal time as we work to renew the department’s focus on self-determination and self-governance, give power back to the tribes, and provide real meaning to the concept of tribal sovereignty.” 

“Secretary Zinke’s naming of Bryan Rice as director of the BIA brings an accomplished individual to that post who is well-versed in the Bureau’s mission and has extensive knowledge about its work, particularly in the area of forestry and combatting wildland fires,” said Acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs John Tahsuda. “Bryan will be a strong leader for the Bureau and closely follow the Secretary’s plans for reforming the BIA into a top-notch service delivery agency for tribes and tribal leaders.” 

“Native Americans face significant regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles to economic freedom and success,” Rice said. “I am honored to accept this position and look forward to implementing President Trump’s and Secretary Zinke’s regulatory reform initiative for Indian Country to liberate Native Americans from the bureaucracy that has held them back economically.” 

Rice, who will start his new position on Monday, October 16, 2017, recently led Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire, and has broad experience leading Forestry, Wildland Fire, and Tribal programs across Interior, BIA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His federal government career has spanned nearly 20 years, beginning with service on the Helena Interagency Hotshot Crew for the U.S. Forest Service in Montana. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, working in both community forestry and rural development and supervised numerous timber operations as a timber sale officer on the Yakama Reservation as well as a forester on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Rice also served in leadership capacities internationally in Tanzania, Mexico, Brazil and Australia for both Interior and the U.S. Forest Service.  

Rice has served in two Senior Executive Service natural resources management leadership positions, including as Deputy Director for the BIA Office of Trust Services from 2011 to 2014, and as Director of Forest Management in the U.S. Forest Service from 2014 to 2016. 

Rice spent his school years in the Midwest in Whitewater, Wisconsin and Peoria, Illinois. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alaska – Southeast, focusing on rural development and transportation systems. He is a licensed pilot, and enjoys time outside hunting and fishing. 

Secretary Zinke also announced that Jeff Rupert will be the acting Director of the Office of Wildland Fire starting on Monday, October 16. Rupert was the chief of the Division of Natural Resources for the National Wildlife Refuge System, overseeing the Fire Management, Refuge Resource and Private Lands programs. He has been an active member of the Interior Fire Executive Council for the last several years. He is a graduate of Class #18 from the Interior Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Baker University and a Master of Science degree in Biology from the University of Texas – Pan American.  

The BIA carries out its core mission through four offices: the Office of Indian Services operates the BIA's general assistance, disaster relief, Indian child welfare, tribal government, Indian Self-Determination, and reservation roads programs; the Office of Justice Services directly operates or funds law enforcement, tribal courts, and detention facilities on Federal Indian lands; the Office of Trust Services works with tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives in the management of their trust lands, assets, and resources; and the Office of Field Operations oversees 12 regional offices and 83 agencies which carry out the BIA mission at the tribal level. In Fiscal Year 2017, the BIA had 4,794 employees and a budget of $1.9 billion.

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8/9/2017

article Trump company applies for casino trademark in Macau
(Macau) -- A Trump Organization company has applied for four new trademarks in the Asian gambling hub of Macau, including one for casinos, public records show. The new...

8/8/2017

article Trump team moves quickly to finalize big tribal economic development proposal
(Washington D.C.) -- The Trump administration is moving quickly to finalize a new rule that could bring big economic benefits to Indian Country. Tribes have been pushing...
article Trump’s Policies Show Profound Disregard For Native Americans, DNC Chair Says
(Washington D.C.) -- Policies proposed under President Donald Trump could have “disastrous” consequences for the health and security of Native Americans,...
article Interior watchdog to investigate Trump administration threat to Murkowski on health care
(Washington D.C.) -- The Interior Department inspector general's office said it would investigate a reported threat by the agency's head, Ryan Zinke, against...
article Trump Official Urges Tribes To Demand Free College Tuition In Gaming Compacts [reg req]
(Washington D.C.) -- In negotiating gaming compacts with states, tribes should insist on free tuition for all of their members who want to attend college, according to a...

8/7/2017

article PEREZ: Trump is breaking the federal government's promises to Native Americans
(Washington D.C.) -- When Republicans made yet another unsuccessful attempt to take away healthcare from millions of Americans last month, Native Americans, specifically...

8/6/2017

article BREITBART: Scott Pruitt: Obama EPA ‘Failed’ to ‘Protect the Environment’ Following Devastating Colorado Gold King Mine Spill
(Washington D.C.) -- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the site of the devastating Gold King Mine spill in Colorado that spilled 3...

8/5/2017

article EPA chief to reconsider paying claims over mine waste spill
(Colorado) -- The Environmental Protection Agency will reconsider whether to pay farmers, business owners and others in three states for economic losses caused by a mine...

8/4/2017

article Yellowstone Grizzly Officially Off Endangered Species List
(Washington D.C.) -- The Yellowstone grizzly bear is officially off the federal endangered species list as of July 31, with management reverting to state and local...
article Stephen Bannon once guided a global firm that made millions helping gamers cheat
(Colorado) -- Stephen Bannon had already been successful in Hollywood and on Wall Street when he flew to Hong Kong in mid-2005 to learn more about a promising new...
article OP/ED: Trump’s border wall endangers wildlife refuges, World Heritage sites
(California) -- Just south of the Mexican border is one of the most striking desert landscapes on Earth — a beautiful contrast of lava flows, granite mountains and...

8/1/2017

article Justice Department plans new project to sue universities over affirmative action policies
(Washington D.C.) -- Justice Department officials are planning a new project to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies they...

7/31/2017

article Zinke: 'Laughable' to suggest he threatened Alaska senators
(Washington D.C.) -- Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it is "laughable" to suggest he threatened Alaska's U.S. senators over a vote by one of them...

7/29/2017

article A power struggle on the Columbia
(Oregon) -- To ride down the Columbia River as the John Day Dam’s wall of concrete slowly fills the view from a tugboat is to see what the country’s largest...

7/28/2017

article Key Native-Focused Senators Blocked Obamacare Repeal
(New York) -- Just after 1:30 a.m. ET on July 28, the Republican U.S. Senate failed 49 – 51 to pass its latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA),...

7/26/2017

article Trump administration backs away from yet another pro-tribal legal opinion
(Washington D.C.) -- Another pro-tribal legal opinion is on the chopping block as the Trump administration struggles with the land-into-trust process.
article Interior secretary to visit Las Cruces amid monuments review
(New Mexico) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is scheduled to visit Las Cruces this week in connection with the Trump administration's review of Organ Mountains...
article Top official blamed for 'Thursday night massacre' at Interior Department
(Washington D.C.) -- A top Department of the Interior official is being blamed for a "Thursday night massacre" in which dozens of employees -- including the...
article LEGAL BLOG: Tribal Self-Governance Under Trump A Common Goal
(Washington D.C.) -- Tribes are rightly concerned that federal programs benefiting tribal communities may become the target of budget cuts under the Trump administration...

7/25/2017

article As Interior Secretary Swaggers Through Parks, His Staff Rolls Back Regulations
(Washington D.C.) -- Ryan Zinke, a former member of the Navy SEALs and lifelong Montana outdoorsman who now heads the Interior Department, loves to compare himself to...
article Under Trump, tribal land ownership is not a priority
(Washington D.C.) -- During President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure, tribal sovereignty, the power by which tribes govern themselves, was a prime concern. But...

7/24/2017

article Trump’s Interior Dept Begins Rolling Back Obama-Era Fracking Regs
(Washington D.C.) -- The Department of the Interior (DOI) is proposing a complete repeal of a 2015 Obama-era rule governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian...
article Pacelle: Zinke’s Department of the Interior mounting unprecedented attack on wildlife
(Washington D.C.) -- The Department of the Interior, under Secretary Ryan Zinke, isn’t mincing words or hedging its political bets. At least not so far. Last week...
article Senate confirms David Bernhardt as Interior deputy
(Washington D.C.) -- The Senate confirmed David Bernhardt as second in charge at the Interior Department on Monday despite recent claims that he continued to represent a...

7/23/2017

article Navajo Nation President Shares Health Care Concerns With Trump Administration
(Arizona) -- During a consultation held on Tuesday, July 18 with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), President Russell Begaye...

7/20/2017

article Democrats Want Probe of Interior Scientists' Reassignments
(Washington D.C.) -- Democrats at a hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees seized on the published comments of an Interior scientist who claims that...
article Senate advances controversial Trump Interior nominee
(Washington D.C.) -- The Senate voted Thursday to advance a controversial Trump Interior Department nominee, setting up a final confirmation vote early next week....
article Interior Department employee blames reassignment on advocacy for Alaska Natives
(Washington D.C.) -- A scientist at the Department of the Interior says the Trump administration retaliated against him for speaking out in defense of Alaska Native...
article Interior Dept. ordered Glacier park chief, other climate expert pulled from Zuckerberg tour
(Montana) -- Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg flew to Glacier National Park on Saturday to tour the melting ice fields that have become the poster child for...
article Trump cutting hundreds of planned regulations
(Washington D.C.) -- The Trump administration has withdrawn or delayed 860 proposed regulations in its first five months, the beginnings of a regulatory overhaul meant...

7/19/2017

article Lawmakers debate another Indian bill though none have gone to President Trump yet
(Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump this week bragged about signing more bills than any of his predecessors, a claim that was quickly shown to be lacking in...
article Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions
(Washington D.C.) -- President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself...

7/18/2017

article Trump administration officially rescinds pro-treaty rights legal opinion
(Washington D.C.) -- The Trump administration has quietly killed a legal opinion that tribes were using to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. On February 6, the...
article Trump Bets on Casino Hired Gun for State Department
(Washington D.C.) -- When Jonathan Galaviz left his job at a casino consulting firm to go work for the Trump State Department, he didn’t have any concerns about...

7/17/2017

article Indigenous People Plan to Honor a Treaty that Trump Won’t
(USA) -- The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community started planning for climate change a decade ago. Located on the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island on Puget Sound...
article Native American tribes reject Trump's stance on climate change and pledge to uphold the Paris Agreement
(USA) -- A group of Native American tribes have said they will continue to uphold the Paris Climate Change Agreement despite Donald Trump's withdrawal from it...
article Trump’s EPA To Lay Off 8% Of Its Employees In Next 2 Months
(Washington D.C.) -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will lay off more than 1,200 employees over the next two months by offering buyouts, documents obtained by...

7/13/2017

article Massive Copper Mine Tests Trump's Push to Slash Regulation
(Arizona) -- Rio Tinto's proposed Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona would tunnel 7,000 feet underground, where rocks radiate heat from the earth’s molten core...

7/11/2017

article Will President Trump eliminate the BIA?
(Washington D.C.) -- It’s a tale as old as time: the federal government wants to reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to better serve both American Indians...
article Official who nixed Everglades from UN endangered-site list gets Trump job
(Washington D.C.) -- An Interior Department official who removed the Everglades from the United Nations’ endangered-sites list during the Bush administration is...

7/5/2017

article HORSEY: EPA’s Scott Pruitt is Trump’s most adept and dangerous hatchet man
(Washington D.C.) -- Donald Trump is a crude buffoon who spends his days picking Twitter fights with people he sees on TV. He displays no skill, sophistication or...

7/4/2017

article Northern Cheyenne Tribe challenges Trump administration on grizzly bears
(Montana) -- The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is planning to sue the Trump administration for removing protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park....

6/29/2017

article President Trump promises 'freedom' for tribes seeking to exploit their resources
(Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump blamed the federal government for hindering prosperity in Indian Country in his first official event with tribal leaders. In...
article Trump tells tribal leaders that Medicaid cuts will be ‘great for everybody’
(Washington D.C.) -- The Senate’s health care bill is “mostly dead.” But that’s not the same as all dead. And this holiday weekend will decide...

6/28/2017

press release Remarks by President Trump and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry at Tribal, State, and Local Energy Roundtable
(Washington D.C.) -- THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for being here. Very much appreciated. We welcome you to the White House. Have you all been to the White House before?...
article Trump calls for ‘golden age of American energy dominance’
(Washington D.C.) -- President Trump continued his drive to promote an “energy dominance” policy Wednesday by meeting with state and tribal leaders and...
article Trump wants energy jobs like 'never seen before' on tribal lands
(Washington D.C.) -- President Trump said Wednesday that he wants to see job growth like "never seen before" from energy development on tribal lands. "We...
article VIDEO: Trump hosts tribal, local leaders for energy meeting
(Washington D.C.) -- President Trump on June 28 hosted tribal, state and local leaders at the White House for a meeting about energy.
article Interior Department reorganization will hit New Mexico’s landscapes, communities
(Washington D.C.) -- The Trump administration reassigned several top-level employees in its reorganization of the U.S. Department of the Interior. That includes Dr....

6/27/2017

article Trump Troubles? / Off-reservation land for casinos will slow under the new president
(Washington D.C.) -- American Indian efforts to reacquire and place in federal trust their ancestral lands—particularly acreage earmarked for new government...
article Trump administration rolls out first rule under historic trust reform law
(Washington D.C.) -- Indian Country is entering a new era in trust reform amid major changes at the Department of the Interior. Tribes cheered when then-president Barack...

6/26/2017

article EPA Veteran: “Scott Pruitt Is Taking the Agency in the Wrong Direction”
(Washington D.C.) -- My name is Michael Cox. I retired from the US Environmental Protection Agency on March 31, 2017, after more than 25 years of service. Prior to...
article Against tribal wishes, Secretary Zinke, Interior department removes federal protection for grizzlies
(Washington D.C.) -- When Colville Business Council chair Michael Marchand signed onto the Piikani Agreement in November, pledging the tribes’ support for grizzly...
article Tribes Left Out Again on Grizzly Delisting Decision
(Montana) -- Native American tribes say they were once again on the outside looking in - this time as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to remove the grizzly...

6/21/2017

article CHAMPAGNE: Should Indian Nations Fear the Return of Termination Policy?
(Washington D.C.) -- If anything brings Indian nations together to rally for treaty and self-government rights, it is the threat of termination or the return of...

6/17/2017

article OP/ED: No Thanks, Trump: Southern Arizona standing against proposed border wall
(Arizona) -- Few places in the country interact with Mexico as much as Southern Arizona, and several of the region's jurisdictions have taken a collective stand...

6/16/2017

article America Spent Centuries Mistreating Native American Children. Trump Is Making It Worse.
(USA) -- A century ago, the U.S. government forced hundreds of thousands of Native American students to attend boarding schools where authorities shaved their heads,...

6/13/2017

article Tribes lash out at Trump administration for lapses in consultation
(Connecticut) -- The Trump administration is coming under heavy fire as the new leader of the Department of the Interior makes a highly-anticipated appearance before the...

6/10/2017

article Trump portrait replaced in Wyoming town hall
(Wyoming) -- A portrait of President Donald Trump has been replaced at one town hall in Wyoming because the local mayor disapproves of Trump's politics.

6/9/2017

article Will President Trump Eliminate the BIA?
(Washington D.C.) -- It’s a tale as old as time: The federal government wants to reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to better serve both American Indians...

6/3/2017

article Fierce Reaction to Paris Climate Pullout
(Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump’s announcement on June 1 that the United States would pull out of the Paris climate agreement that had been reached in...

5/29/2017

article Trump administration plans to minimize civil rights efforts in agencies
(Washington D.C.) -- The Trump administration is planning to disband the Labor Department division that has policed discrimination among federal contractors for four...

5/28/2017

article Looming Trump budget cuts deepen distress on Pine Ridge
(South Dakota) -- Antoinette Poafpybitty wanted to come home. When Poafpybitty and her husband, Virgil, decided to return to Pine Ridge after 15 years living off the...
article Tribes bash proposed Trump budget cuts to Native Americans
(Oregon) -- Dozens of Native American tribes in six Western states expressed outrage Thursday at President Trump's proposed budget cuts to American Indian programs,...
article Can We Trust Donald Trump?
(Washington D.C.) -- Through his businesses affiliated with the gaming industry, Donald Trump has met with Indian communities and leaders, and made partnerships for...

5/25/2017

article Native Americans’ health threatened by denial of Medicaid expansion
(Washington D.C.) -- America has broken several centuries worth of promises to its indigenous people. And we’re poised to do it again. The consequences of this...
article Trump Budget Calls For Cuts to Native American Health Care, Housing
(Washington D.C.) -- U.S. Native Americans are expressing alarm over President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 federal budget, which calls for across-the-board spending...
article WASHBURN: Trump Proposes Hundreds of Millions in Cuts to Federal Appropriations for Indian Country
(Washington D.C.) -- When Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, many of us had questions about whether the United States would continue to...
article Northwest tribes say Trump's proposed budget would hurt salmon recovery
(Oregon) -- Native American leaders expressed outrage Thursday at President Donald Trump's proposed budget that cuts nearly 25 percent of the nation's tribal...
article Tribes bash proposed Trump budget cuts to Native Americans
(Oregon) -- Dozens of Native American tribes in six Western states expressed outrage Thursday at President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to American Indian programs...
article Bob Goodlatte urges Sessions to seize money directed to Obama's 'liberal friends'
(Washington D.C.) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a roadmap for recovering money that former President Barack Obama's team gave to Native American groups, a...
press release American Indian College Fund Urges Supporters to Reject Proposed Federal Budget Cuts to Education as A Betrayal of American Dream and Treaty Obligations
(Colorado) -- American Indian College Fund President and CEO Cheryl Crazy Bull issued the following statement with regard to President Trump’s fiscal year 2018...

5/23/2017

article President Trump confirms Indian Country's fears with budget request
(Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump is confirming Indian Country's worst fears by seeking drastic cuts in education, health, housing and other key programs....

5/21/2017

article Task Force to Examine IHS
(Arizona) -- A federal task force will examine Indian Health Service and look for ways to improve the beleaguered program. IHS provides primary health care for the...

5/19/2017

article CHAMPAGNE: Will Indians Survive Donald Trump?
(California) -- Government policies and programs for American Indians change dramatically from one political administration to another. The New Deal Policy of the...
article Top Interior nominee contradicts President Trump on 'race' and tribal programs
(Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump is wrong about federal funding for Indian programs, according to one of his own nominees. Trump drew alarms earlier this...

5/18/2017

article Indian County bracing for worst with Donald Trump's planned budget cuts
(Washington D.C.) -- Indian Country leaders are turning to allies in Congress in hopes of stopping massive funding cuts that President Donald Trump is expected to unveil...

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