Mismanagement of the Indian Trust Fund: Abuse Continues Into the Modern Era

Some people might comfort themselves by trying to dismiss the ill treatment of Native Americans as something that happened a long time ago. It is simply not the case. As one example, consider the report by the U.S. House Committee on Government Operations: “Misplaced Trust: The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Mismanagement of the Indian Trust Fund.” It was published on this day in history, April 22, 1992.

The report runs some 70 pages. It found that financial problems had been “neglected for decĀ­ades.” The only recourse Native peoples and tribes had to try to fix the problem was to go to the BIA — the very agency that was the cause of the problem. The report citedĀ  Committee member Rep. Albert Bustamonte as saying “if this type of mismanagement taken place in any other trust arrangements such as Social Security, there would be war.”

The problems eventually spurred a massive lawsuit. Even after a decade of reforms, the government was still trying to fix the problems well into the 2000s.

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