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Press Release

Westerman, Foxx Launch Investigation Into DOI's Mishandling of Misconduct at Native American University

  • IP Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) led a letter to Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Director Tony Dearman, conducting oversight into alleged misconduct involving the Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). In part, the members wrote:

"As you are aware, allegations of misconduct at HINU were reported to officials at HINU, BIE, and DOI through numerous complaints, emails, and letters filed or sent by HINU students and current or former HINU employees. The Committees are concerned both by BIE’s failure to respond and quickly address students’ concerns, especially those involving reports of sexual assault, as well as by claims that BIE omitted information from the very reports intended to address these concerns."

Read the full letter here.


After years of alleged dysfunction, a group of students and former faculty came forward to report both past and ongoing misconduct at HINU. Allegations include reports of theft, fraud and sexual assault. BIE conducted a lengthy investigation and released a report detailing serious assertions and findings of misconduct at HINU. However, BIE failed to disclose this report to the public, as well as those who contributed to the report, until they were legally compelled to do so. Even then, BIE only published a heavily redacted version. 

Despite repeated appeals by HINU students to DOI Secretary Deb Haaland and BIE officials for justice, DOI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and BIE have failed to take action addressing these allegations and protecting the student body and faculty at HINU from further misconduct.