Kilpatrick Townsend

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Organizing Indian Affairs for the Next 100 Years

February 6, 2018

Written by Lawrence S. Roberts

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke welcomed 2018 with a proposal to reorganize the Department of the Interior’s regions by watersheds and ecosystems. Reported as his largest priority, Zinke advocates that the 13 reorganized regions, or joint management agencies (JMA), will better manage land and water and will better respond to crisis as a coordinated unit. The secretary has described it as a reorganization plan for the next 100 years and reportedly “was inspired by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command, in which a mix of uniforms direct blended teams of elite operators. ‘That’s how we fight wars,’ Zinke told the Denali Staff ... . ‘Anticipate about 13 of these JMAs in the U.S.’” With 19 western states already voicing concern and requesting consultation, it’s clear that tribes need to be at the table with the Interior Department.

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