indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Sovereignty and E-Commerce:  Innovating and Reshaping the  Borders of Indian Country - Arizona State University Third Annual Tribal Government E-Commerce CLE Conference
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Republican lawmaker with a better tribal record tapped for Interior Secretary

Filed Under: Environment | National | Politics | Federal Recognition
More on: 114th, 2016, bia, blackfeet, cathy mcmorris rodgers, coal, denise juneau, doi, donald trump, elections, energy, h.r.286, h.r.5259, h.r.5633, little shell, lummi, montana, republicans, ryan zinke, s.612, senate, steve daines, treaties, usbr, water, wiin act
     
   

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) with the flag of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Photo from Office of Ryan Zinke

This time it's official -- Republican president-elect Donald Trump has tapped a lawmaker with a more favorable record on tribal issues to head up the Interior Department.

Since joining Congress in 2015, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) has supported tribes on water, taxation, health care, federal recognition, economic development, energy, violence against Native women, and sovereignty matters. If he is confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, he would be the key person in the incoming administration that deals with Indian issues.

But Trump didn't mention tribes at all as his transition team made the official announcement on Wednesday. Instead he indicated that other issues on Interior's plate, including public lands management and exploitation of natural resources, were his priorities.

Zinke, however, didn't leave Indian Country out. The announcement noted that he is an adopted member of the Fort Peck Tribes in Montana.

"Most important, our sovereign Indian Nations and territories must have the respect and freedom they deserve," Zinke said.

As Montana's sole representative in the House, Zinke has championed a number of causes for tribes in his state. The very first bill he introduced after taking office in January 2015 was H.R.286 to extend federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

While the bill did not become law after it was added to a controversial recognition reform measure, Chairman Gerald Gray counted Zinke among the tribe's "allies and friends" in a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday. And that support could prove crucial because the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency at Interior, is still considering whether to grant federal status to the descendants of Chief Little Shell.

Another one of Zinke's initiatives was more successful. He helped secure passage of a long-delayed water rights settlement for the Blackfeet Nation. H.R.5633, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act, was included in S.612, a national water bill that awaits signature from President Barack Obama.

"Water is more than a drinking source to the Blackfeet, it’s their life source and we must respect and honor their culture and rights," Zinke said in a press release on Tuesday in which Chairman Harry Barnes offered praise for the lawmaker.

Zinke's experience with water rights will prove crucial should he be confirmed to the Interior post. The BIA and the Bureau of Reclamation, another agency at the department, play critical roles in negotiating and implementing settlements across Indian Country.

And in yet another area of interest, Zinke would have the authority to make changes at Interior that he wasn't able to achieve through legislation. He could revive a committee of tribal and state officials that deals with mineral resource issues, something he tried to do with H.R.5259, the Certainty for States and Tribes Act.

Zinke's pro-energy stance could turn out to be helpful for some within Indian Country. He has repeatedly accused the Obama administration of engaging in a "war on coal" which he said hindered economic development opportunities for the Crow Tribe.

But his push for a coal export terminal that would have benefited the tribe came at the expense of another. During his re-election campaign, he accused his Democratic rival of taking "blood money" from the Lummi Nation, whose leaders opposed the project.

Zinke derided the Lummis as a "wealthy tribe" but did not explain that they opposed the terminal because it would infringe on their treaty-protected fishing rights. The Obama administration halted the project in May in direct response to those concerns.

But now that Zinke has been tapped for the president's Cabinet, his departure from Congress could open the door for Denise Juneau, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation who was his rival in the race. Federal law requires an election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House although she hasn't committed to running again.

"I look forward to a little time off to re-adjust the sails and think about what it is I want to do and accomplish," Juneau, who was hoping to become the first Native woman in Congress, told Montana Public Radio on Monday.

Confirmation hearings for Zinke are expected to take place early next year, after the 115th Congress convenes. He would go before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

"As a westerner, Ryan understands the challenges of having the federal government as your largest neighbor and I couldn't think of a better fit for Secretary of the Interior," Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) , who serves on the committee, said in a press release on Tuesday, before the official announcement.

Trump had been considering another Republican lawmaker with a less favorable tribal record for the Interior job. But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) basically withdrew herself from the running as Zinke's stock rose.

"It was an honor to be invited to spend time with the President-elect, and I’m energized more than ever to continue leading in Congress as we think big, reimagine this government, and put people back at the center of it," McMorris Rodgers said on Facebook on Tuesday.

Related Stories:
Trump's Energy nominee sits on board for Dakota Access owner (12/14)
National water bill offers a bunch of goodies for Indian Country (12/13)
Oklahoma tribes win approval of water deal without so much as a hearing in Congress (12/13)
Donald Trump's Interior pick offers mixed record on tribal issues (12/12)
Michael Dax: Blackfeet Nation scores victory in sacred land fight (12/12)
Mark Trahant: Trump's pick for Interior poses problems for tribes (12/9)
Native Sun News Today Editorial: A bumpy ride with Donald Trump (12/8)
Tribal sovereignty foe slated to join Donald Trump's administration (12/7)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin denies speculation of 'privatizing' tribal land (12/7)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp considers role in Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Native youth remain hopeful as nation transitions to new president (11/30)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at risk with Trump administration (11/30)
Alaska Natives fight Trump on name change at highest mountain (11/22)
Mark Trahant: Funding Indian health in the era of Donald Trump (11/21)
Republicans get behind Trump as new challenges emerge for tribes (11/18)
Sacred land protection efforts face questions with Donald Trump (11/18)
Blackfeet Nation scores victories on sacred sites and water rights (11/17)
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Keep Sarah Palin far away from Bureau of Indian Affairs (11/17)
Native women lead massive march to White House to stop Dakota Access Pipeline (11/16)
Blackfeet Nation water deal on agenda as Congress returns to work (11/15)
Democracy Now: A White nationalist joins Republican Donald Trump in the White House (11/14)
Tim Giago: Tribes stand at major crossroads with Donald Trump in office (11/14)
Tribes working to protect Indian health with Donald Trump in office (11/11)
Tribes brace for change with Republicans in control in Washington (11/10)
Bright spot seen for two defeated Native Congressional hopefuls (11/10)
Native candidates fare poorly in three Congressional challenges (11/09)
Quinault Nation calls for tribal inclusion in Donald Trump's transition team (11/09)
Navajo Nation leaders congratulate Donald Trump on big victory (11/09)
Doug George-Kanentiio: The war on Natives and our Earth begins (11/09)
Dakota Access Pipeline stands to gain with Donald Trump in the White House (11/09)
Republican Donald Trump secures huge victory in stunning upset (11/09)
Navajo veteran who once worked for Trump praises GOP nominee (11/4)
Mark Trahant: Native women can help pull off a November surprise (10/18)
Mark Trahant: Getting the first Native woman elected to Congress (10/12)
Native Republicans in Congress silent as GOP abandons Donald Trump (10/10)
Native vote seen as crucial in U.S. Congressional race in Montana (10/06)
Montana and Virginia tribes 'duped' with federal recognition bill (09/16)
Mark Trahant: Congressional candidates debate on Fort Peck Nation in Montana (08/30)
Lakota Country Times: Bill honors memory of young Northern Cheyenne woman (08/25)
Effort builds for missing and murdered Native women and girls (06/29)
Bill revives tribal-state royalty committee at Interior Department (06/07)
Tribes welcome decision against coal export terminal in Washington (05/10)
Lummi Nation and Crow Tribe at odds over provision in energy bill (12/04)
Fort Peck Tribes honor Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2006 (10/14)
Native Sun News: Crow Tribe leader advises Rep. Zinke on energy (10/06)
Bill shields tribes from Affordable Care Act employer mandate (07/15)

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:
Dakota Access offers up March 6 as earliest date for completion (2/22)
Trump administration opposes injunction against Dakota Access (2/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs still failing on online security measures (2/21)
Mary Annette Pember: Indigenous people can't ever back down (2/21)
Harold Monteau: Democrats to blame for President Donald Trump (2/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation leaders share concerns about border wall (2/21)
Pacific Northwest tribes finally rebury remains of Kennewick Man (2/21)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe affirms election results after recount (2/21)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe hopes to see return of casino business (2/21)
Bureau of Indian Affairs confirms Wilton Rancheria casino in trust (2/21)
Mohegan Tribe said gaming executive didn't disclose stake in firm (2/21)
Tribal sovereignty foe in charge of nation's environmental agenda (2/20)
Trump gets another extension in Supreme Court tribal casino case (2/20)
Senate finally ready to consider nomination of Ryan Zinke for DOI (2/20)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on Trump 'priorities' (2/20)
Tim Giago: Our Lakota children are dying while we wring our hands (2/20)
Mark Trahant: Indian programs gain 'high risk' label at worst time (2/20)
Native Sun News Today: 'Haven For Hope' proposed for homeless (2/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: 'Civilization' aims to alienate Native America (2/20)
Cronkite News: Navajo leader pleads to Trump to help power plant (2/20)
André Cramblit: Sorry but Indian Country just got 'Trumped' again (2/20)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Sen. Hoeven raises red flags in Indian Country (2/20)
Peter d'Errico: Indian Country's 'trustee' isn't trustworthy anymore (2/20)
Raymond Hitchcock: The facts about Wilton Rancheria's casino plan (2/20)
Wilton Rancheria seeks to join lawsuit as gaming site is put in trust (2/20)
Tribes find common ground with Trump on Supreme Court nominee (2/17)
Bureau of Indian Affairs issues 'trespass' notice to #NoDAPL camp (2/17)
Hearing on injunction against Dakota Access moved to February 28 (2/17)
Native Sun News Today: Drilling test in treaty territory stirs concern (2/17)
Editorial: Presidents on Mount Rushmore didn't treat tribes so well (2/17)
Native women pushing for action on missing and murdered sisters (2/16)
Army Department formally cancels Dakota Access Pipeline review (2/16)
Native Sun News Today: Dakota Access firms see spills, explosions (2/16)
James Giago Davies: Tribes face bigger threat than Dakota Access (2/16)
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.