your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Obama vows Salazar will fulfill trust responsibilities
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Filed Under: Cobell | Politics | Trust

President-elect Barack Obama introduced Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colorado) as his nominee for Secretary of the Department of the Interior on Wednesday, vowing to give tribal nations a voice in his administration.

Speaking from his transition headquarters in Chicago, Obama promised his pick will ensure the federal government lives up to its treaty and trust responsibilities. Interior oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, the two agencies with the most impact on reservations.

"We need more than just a government-to-government relationship, we need a nation-to-nation relationship," the incoming president said.

Salazar, a first-term senator from a state with two tribes, hasn't had much experience with Indian issues during his time in Washington, D.C. But he also referenced Native Americans in his remarks yesterday.

"I look forward to helping to address the challenges faced by our Native American communities across the nation," said Salazar, who comes from a ranching family.

The comments from Obama and Salazar stood in direct contrast to those made by President George W. Bush and his Interior nominees. In 2000, when Coloradan Gale Norton was named to the post, and 2006, when former Idaho governor Dirk Kempthorne took her place, Indian issues weren't mentioned at all.

But controversies, ranging from the Indian trust fund debacle to off-reservation gaming, consumed both picks. The Jack Abramoff scandal, the largest in Washington in recent history, sent a top Interior official to prison for his dealings on tribal matters.

"I also want an Interior Department that very frankly cleans up its act," Obama said. "There have been too many problems and too much emphasis on big time lobbyists in Washington."

"That's going to change under Ken Salazar," Obama added.

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit over individual Indian trust funds, expressed hope that Obama and Salazar will live up to their pledges. Her case was filed in June 1996 and has failed to see a resolution under Democratic and Republican presidents.

"Now it is up to the next president and his Interior Secretary to settle what is the longest-running class action civil suit against the government," Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, said in a statement.

Two of Cobell's attorneys -- John Echohawk, the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, and Keith Harper, a former NARF staffer now in private practice -- are in fact playing a key role in shaping the new Interior as members of Obama's transition team. Echohawk and another ex-NARF attorney have been dealing with general Interior issues while Harper has focused on the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Besides nominating Salazar, Obama will choose a new assistant secretary for Indian Affairs to oversee the BIA, a new Special Trustee for American Indians for OST and a new chair for the NIGC. Salazar, if confirmed, gets to name two of the NIGC commissioners.

But before those posts are filled, Salazar will go through the confirmation process. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which Salazar served, is expected to hold hearings on the nomination in January.

"He understands how to manage federal lands and resources and knows the importance of working with stakeholders while protecting the public interest," Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), the chairman of the committee said. "Ken also will provide a strong Western voice in the Cabinet, and he’ll do a terrific job working with the states and the tribes."

Kempthorne, who will stay on board until Obama is inaugurated on January 20, praised Salazar too. "He recognizes the importance that America's federal lands must play in reducing our dependence on foreign energy; he supports our national parks; he has positive relationships with American Indian tribes; he understands the complexities of western water issues," Kempthorne said in a statement.

From Change.Gov:
President-elect Obama announces Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture (December 17, 2008)

Related Stories:
Ken Salazar being announced as Interior nominee (12/17)
Editorial: Salazar inherits troubled Interior (12/17)
Editorial: Ken Salazar a wise choice for Interior (12/16)
Opinion: A Republican for Interior Secretary (12/16)
Editorial: Eleventh hour mischief at Interior (12/16)
Report finds political influence by Interior official (12/16)
Reports: Sen. Ken Salazar slated for Interior (12/15)
Opinion: A Republican for Interior Secretary (12/16)
Arizona Tribes: Raul Grijalva for Interior Secretary (12/12)
Editorial: Raul Grijalva for Interior Secretary (12/11)
Gover now calls potential Interior nod a 'rumor' (12/10)
Potential Interior picks pressed on disenrollment (12/10)
Gover not expecting to hear from Obama transition (12/9)
Grist: Kevin Gover up for Interior Secretary (12/8)
Opinion: Raul Grijalva a wise choice for Interior (12/8)
Cobell lawyer leads Interior transition for Obama (12/5)
In the Loop: Interior Secretary pick next in line (12/5)
Tribal membership disputes on nominee radar (12/2)
Arizona tribes contributed to Napolitano PAC (11/25)
Editorial: Raul Grijalva for Interior Secretary (11/25)
Strong outlook for Indian Country under Obama (11/21)
NIGC prepares for transition to new administration (11/19)
Indian gaming issues up for Obama's review (11/19)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe reacts to shootings (10/26)
Raúl Grijalva: Republicans still won't listen to Indian Country (10/26)
Dakota Access ramps up spending on lobbying and politicians (10/25)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe presses Obama on Dakota Access (10/25)
Indian National Finals Rodeo gears up for big crowds in Vegas (10/25)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates benefit from Clinton landslide (10/25)
Lakota Country Times: Shooting pushes Pine Ridge into action (10/25)
Native Sun News Today: Sisters want police help for stolen car (10/25)
Delphine Red Shirt: Teach the language like our elders wanted (10/25)
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux Tribe keeps making bad decisions (10/25)
Cronkite News: Fighting the opioid epidemic in Indian Country (10/25)
Harlan McKosato: Just what are Indians supposed to look like? (10/25)
ICT series continues with George W. Bush's sovereignty gaffe (10/25)
United South and Eastern Tribes open sovereignty conference (10/25)
Navajo Nation in discussions to cultivate hemp on reservation (10/25)
Eastern Cherokees looking to build data center on reservation (10/25)
Cherokee Nation schedules job fairs for newest gaming facility (10/25)
California Nations Indian Gaming Association chooses director (10/25)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe faces legal fight over modest casino (10/25)
Donald Trump embraces big energy projects like Dakota Access (10/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe can pursue own #NoDAPL complaint (10/24)
Democracy Now: New resistance in fight against Dakota Access (10/24)
Tim Giago: No one feels honored by racist & offensive mascots (10/24)
Mark Trahant: North Dakota takes #NoDAPL battle to extremes (10/24)
Cedric Sunray: Cherokee Nation tries to 'Trump' Indian arts law (10/24)
Native Sun News Today: Republican won't agree to tribal forum (10/24)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe opens nursing home (10/24)
Clara Caufield: Tribute to outgoing Northern Cheyenne leader (10/24)
Mary Annette Pember: North Dakota on #NoDAPL crackdown (10/24)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Native women deserve to be respected (10/24)
Steven Newcomb: Getting to the origins of federal Indian law (10/24)
Peter d'Errico: Seminole Tribe embraces limits on sovereignty (10/24)
Pregnant woman on Muckleshoot Reservation killed by police (10/24)
Federal authorities investigate shooting deaths at Pine Ridge (10/24)
Bus returning from Torres-Martinez Band casino in fatal crash (10/24)
Jamul Indian Village refinances $460M in casino related debt (10/24)
Firm cites 2009 National Indian Gaming Commission opinion (10/24)
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye backs Hillary Clinton (10/21)
Twenty-Nine Palms Band disputes 'Trump, You're Fired' story (10/21)
Repatriation review committee announces additional meetings (10/21)
Native Sun News Today: Ping-pong continues in #NoDAPL case (10/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.