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Indian Royalties Case Official Retires

A top Interior Department official who a federal judge said deceived him about the agency's failure to reform a trust fund for Native Americans announced his retirement yesterday.

Neal A. McCaleb, 67, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said he was proud of a 35-year track record of trying to build "real and lasting economic opportunities for American Indian people."

But McCaleb said that his efforts during the Bush administration were hampered by a long-running class-action lawsuit filed by Indian plaintiffs to secure an accounting of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties from Native American lands held in trust by the government. The suit began before his appointment to the department.

"Unfortunately, the litigation has taken first priority in too many activities, thus distracting attention from the other important goals that could provide more long-term benefits for Indian Country," said McCaleb, who will leave Dec. 31.

Yeah, those darn Indians keep mucking everything up by trying to make the US government keep its promises. I mean, why waste your time trying to reclaim the money the government stole from you when the government could be spending its time doing other things?


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