The Washington Post

Bureau of Indian Affairs regional office goes leaderless

There’s grousing that the bureau’s eastern Oklahoma office has been leaderless for more than two years. Technically, Jeanette Hanna is the regional office’s director, but she’s been “on detail” to the Washington headquarters since early 2010. Local tribes have been complaining that the lack of a leader has hampered the office, and that they’re not getting the service they need.

The circumstances around Hanna’s absence are curious — and the BIA doesn’t seem to be doing anything to clear them up. The Tulsa World reported in 2009 that Hanna, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma who had led the office since 2002, was removed from her post because of an “ongoing personnel matter.” Now, BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling refused to comment to the Loop on Hanna’s employment history or status, saying an in an e-mail that she couldn’t, “do [sic] to privacy rules.”

And when might the regional office expect to fill Hanna’s long-vacated shoes? Darling sent us a lengthy and vague statement that didn’t begin to answer the question.

Our best translation: They’re working on it.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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