Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Special Trustee for American Indians/Deputy Special Trustee
OST oversees reforms necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the Department of the Interior's trust responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Special Trustee manages and directs the staff within OST with the assistance of the Deputy Special Trustee. The Deputy Special Trustee acts in the absence of the Special Trustee and discharges the responsibilities of the Office including strategic planning, Activity Based Costing and the Government Performance and Results Act. All offices in OST report through the Deputy Special Trustee to the Special Trustee.
Deputy Ethics Counselor
The Ethics Program supports the OST mission. Oversight of program is the responsibility of the OST Ethics Counselor, who is also charged with providing leadership, guidance, and advice to the OST community. The ethics counselor assists OST staff to meet the requirements of statutes and regulations governing behavior of employees of the federal government.
OAS provides impartial estimates of value for a variety of specific real property interests on land owned in trust or restricted status. Estimates are provided through regional appraisal staff located in twelve regional offices, which are directed by Regional Supervisory Appraisers.
OHTA was created in July 2001 to provide historical accountings of IIM accounts for the Elouise Cobell, et al., vs. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., class action lawsuit. In July 2002, OHTA's mission was expanded to include historical accounting work and litigation support for trust fund related litigation filed by Indian tribes against the United States.
The Deputy Special Trustee of Field Operations manages and supervises five Regional Trust Administrators, the Trust Beneficiary Call Center (TBCC), and Trust Funds Investment.
Regional Trust Administrators supervise the 50 Fiduciary Trust Officers (FTOs). The FTOs, along with staff personnel, are the primary points of contact for tribal, individual Indian, and Alaskan Native beneficiaries seeking information and services regarding their trust assets. FO personnel assist beneficiaries daily at regional, agency, and urban locations regarding account statements, account balances, other account attributes, receipts, disbursements, probate processing, leases, and leasing.
TBCC is a nationwide call center that provides beneficiaries convenient access to information about their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts and trust assets. TBCC also responds to beneficiary requests received in the mail, as well as beneficiaries who come into the center, which is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Trust Funds Investment plans, develops, operates, and controls the buying, selling, and trading of investment instruments in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. The division provides technical advice and assistance to regional offices, agencies, and Indian tribes in developing financial plans and investment strategies for tribal trust funds.
The Deputy Special Trustee of Trust Services manages and supervises Trust Funds Management, and Trust Reporting and Reconciliation.
Trust Funds Management is responsible for policies, standards, and procedures governing trust funds. The office operates and controls accounting activities that properly record all funds received, disbursed, invested, and held in trust for tribal and individual Indian beneficiaries, providing centralized accounting services for trust funds management activities. As necessary, the office works directly with field offices to ensure cash management supporting documentation is in compliance with policies and procedures.
Trust Reporting and Reconciliation prepares and issues various regulatory, financial, and managerial reports. It also reconciles subsidiary and controlled accounts and monitors trust funds activities at the Trust Funds Management and field levels. The office prepares internal and external audited financial statements and related reports. It is responsible for the accurate and timely preparation and submission of appropriate congressional reports and required tax forms. Reconciliation of trust funds activities include custodial management of proprietary data, compliance and interaction with the Department of the Treasury cash flow reports, and Office of Natural Resources Revenue and BIA receipt of funds and source documents.
The Deputy Special Trustee of Program Management manages and supervises Trust Records, Trust Review and Audit, and Risk Management.
Trust Records is responsible for the management of BIA and OST records programs, consistent with requirements set forth in 44 U.S.C. Chapter 31. The records management program is implemented in concert with other Department of the Interior offices and other agencies. Program responsibilities address the creation, maintenance, receipt, delivery, custody and control, processing, inventory, database management, and maintenance of Indian records and their accession and disposition, transfer, storage, security, and safety to ensure document preservation in accordance with the Federal Records Act, NARA regulations, and other applicable laws and regulations. This division is responsible for design, installation, training, implementation and maintenance of automated systems that support overall records management and litigation support program requirements.
Trust Review and Audit was established in 2003 to develop and maintain the Indian Trust Rating System to uniformly evaluate the fiduciary trust activities of tribes and Department of the Interior organizations. The office provides independent reviews of Indian fiduciary trust programs administered by the Department and tribes to ensure that the Secretary's trust responsibilities are carried out.
Risk Management ensures that 1) manager self-assessment, 2) reviews conducted by Trust Review and Audit, and 3) independent outside audits result in financial reports that are reliable, and that OST is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The Deputy Special Trustee of Business Management manages and supervises Budget, Finance and Administration; Information Resources; and External Affairs. The Deputy Special Trustee administers the contract that provides Human Resources support to the entire organization and is responsible for implementing a comprehensive training program in conjunction with DOI University.
Budget, Finance and Administration is responsible for all aspects of the OST budget, strategic planning, activity-based costing/management, and Government Performance and Results Act measurement. The office coordinates finance, procurement, and personnel activities, and performs all administrative functions within OST including maintaining administrative procedures, property, space, facilities support, safety, health, worker compensation, vehicles, charge card program, supplies, and mailing trust fund disbursements and statements.
Information Resources, managed by the Assistant Director for Information Resources (ADIR), is responsible for all aspects of information technology (IT) in OST. The primary goal of Information Resources is to support OST business processes through the effective use and management of IT services. The ADIR oversees and directs IT support services that include technical support, capital planning and acquisition of IT equipment, IT security, and system development.
Office of External Affairs develops and maintains internal and external communication and media resources, administers Public Law 93-638 self-governance and self-determination activities for appraisals and the beneficiary process program, provides technical assistance to tribes for withdrawal of funds, and is responsible for congressional communications and legislative contacts.
Training for OST employees is administered under the auspices of the Department of the Interior's University – DOIU. Employee training addresses the full range of fiduciary trust fund management and supervision, as well as trust accounting and land appraisals. It also includes general management and supervisory responsibilities.
Human Resource services are provided to OST under a contract with the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Services include classification, staffing, actions processing, benefits counseling, and employee/labor-management relations.