- Associated Press - Friday, April 27, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The director of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has resigned after six months on the job.

Bryan Rice, a veteran federal administrator and citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, resigned earlier this week, a BIA spokeswoman said Friday. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke named Rice to the post in October.

BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling did not offer a reason why Rice resigned and declined further comment.

Darryl LaCounte, director of the agency’s Rocky Mountain Region, will serve as acting BIA director, Darling said.

LaCounte, who is based in Billings, Mont., is an experienced leader who will “maintain a smooth transition” for BIA employees and tribal nations, Darling said.

The BIA coordinates government-government relations with 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

Rice previously led Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire and also has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, an Agriculture Department agency.

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