Darryl LaCounte has been appointed to the position of director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to an announcement made Monday by the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney.
LaCounte, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, has served as acting director since 2018.
“Ensuring that key leadership positions are filled is important for Indian Affairs’ success and the department’s relationship with Indian Country,” Sweeney said. “Mr. LaCounte has done a superior job over this past year as the acting director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He is clearly committed to the trust, responsibility and the further development of our vital workforce, which is the foundation for our ability to deliver services to the tribes.”
LaCounte's appointment was effective Sunday.
“When I was asked to step in to be the BIA’s acting director, I felt a strong responsibility to the people behind the work — the Indian Affairs employees, the tribes and the Indian and Alaska Native people we serve,” LaCounte said.
LaCounte began his federal career in 1988 at the Bureau’s Wind River Agency in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, as an oil and gas specialist in the real estate services branch of the Office of Trust Services. Since 2015, he had been regional director of the Bureau’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Billings, which serves eight federally recognized tribes in Montana and Wyoming. He went on to serve as the acting deputy bureau director for Trust Services at the BIA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., beginning in February 2018. He was named the acting BIA director in April 2018.
LaCounte received a bachelor's degree from Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University Billings) in 1986.