Excerpt from Indian Water Rights: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-Fourth Congress, Second Session on Indian Water Rights; June 22 and 23, 1976
During the hearings in 1971 and 1972, attention of the subcommittee was directed to the potential conﬂict which exists between the administration of the affairs of the Government and the fulfillment of the trust obligation of the United States to the protection of trust resources of the American Indians. Specific questions were raised as to how litigation involving trust resources was conducted by the Lands Division. At that time, Indian resource litigation was conducted under the direct supervision of the General Litigation Section of the Lands Division. This section had responsibility not only for this type of litigation, but also for a multitude of other types of litigation involving Federal lands and waters, as well as certain suits brought by the various tribes and individual Indians against the United States or the responsible Federal officials.
In May 1975, the Attorney General created a new section in the lands Divi sion known as the Indian Resources Section. This section is responsible for litigation where the United States is acting in its trust capacity on behalf of the American Indians. At present, litigation under the auspices of this section is concerned chieﬂy with water rights, hunting and fishing rights, suits involving the protection of other types of Indian trust assets and the jurisdiction of Indian tribes to govern and control activities of their members within their reserva tions to the exclusion of state and local governments. While the creation of the new section has not eliminated the potential for conﬂict, it has resulted in creat ing a cadre of attorneys within the Department whose sole focus is on matters involving the fiduciary responsibility of the United States to the Indian tribes.
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