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Cherokee Legal Scholar Tapped for Federal Commission (Nov 30, 2011)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A noted Native American legal scholar and a former candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation has been named to a commission to evaluate the U.S. Department of Interior's management of $3.7 billion in American Indian trust funds.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the five committee members today, two days before a meeting between President Obama and tribal leaders.

Stacy Leeds is currently serving as the Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. She lost the 2007 election to lead the Cherokee Nation to former Principal Chief Chad Smith.

Fawn Sharp, president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the Quinault Indian Nation, will serve as chairwoman. Other members are: former Navajo President Peterson Zah; Bob Anderson, of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and Tex Hall, past president of the National Congress of American Indians.

They are to provide recommendations on improving trust fund management within two years.The commission's formation came after a judge approved a $3.4 billion U.S. government settlement over mismanaged American Indian land royalties.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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