U.S. Department of the Interior

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Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs

For Immediate Release: May 30, 2003
Contact: Dan DuBray

Secretary Norton Appoints New Associate Solicitor
For Division of Indian Affairs

WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton has appointed Christopher B. Chaney as associate solicitor for the Division of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior. Chaney, a member of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, previously worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, serving with the United States Attorney's office in Salt Lake City, Utah, and, more recently, at the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, D.C.

"I am pleased to appoint someone of Chris Chaney's experience in Indian law and deep understanding of Indian country to the Office of the Solicitor," said Secretary Norton. "We have many issues that we confront on a daily basis and a person of his caliber will be an asset."

Chaney obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1984, and a law degree from Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1992. From 1992 to 1997, he had a private law practice in Farmington, N.M. During that time he worked primarily in the field of Indian law and served as the prosecuting attorney for the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, the Southern Ute Tribe, and as an administrative law judge for the Navajo Housing Authority. In 1997, he accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a federal prosecutor he prosecuted violent crimes that occurred on the Navajo Nation reservation, the Ute Tribe's Uintah & Ouray reservation, and other areas of Indian country within the state of Utah. He also served as the U.S. Attorney's Tribal Liaison to the eight tribes located in Utah. In 2000, Chaney accepted a work detail to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys as Counsel to the Director's Office where he worked on Indian country legal issues on a national scale. Mr. Chaney is a member of the bars of Utah, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation.

"I am humbled that Secretary Norton has entrusted me with this associate solicitor position," said Chaney. "My goal is to have a positive and lasting impact by doing what I can to serve the needs of Indian country and the public in general."

The Interior Solicitor's Office Division of Indian Affairs is responsible for legal matters related to the programs and activities of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In addition, the Division provides legal assistance and counsel to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs and the Special Trustee for American Indians.



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