Interior nominee talks of finding Navajo roots

MP3 Files: Sen. Tom Udall Introduction | Hilary Tompkins Statement

Hilary Tompkins stressed her Navajo Nation roots on Thursday at her confirmation to be Solicitor of the Interior Department.

Tompkins was put up for adoption after her birth in New Mexico. She was raised by a non-Indian couple in New Jersey but her family always kept her aware of her heritage, she told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"It was far from Indian Country, but I never forgot where I came from," Tompkins said of her East Coast upbringing.

Tompkins later reconnected with her birth mother, who explained the reasons for the adoption. Her mother didn't want to expose her child to alcoholism and poverty on the reservation, she said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Tompkins would be the first Native woman and the first Native American to serve as Interior's top legal official.

Get the Story:
Navajo in Line for Interior Post (The Albuquerque Journal 4/24)

Committee Hearing:
Full Committee Hearing: to consider pending nominations (April 23, 2009)

Related Stories:
Confirmation hearing for Tompkins at Interior (4/23)
Senate confirmation hearing for Tompkins at Interior (4/20)
Native women take top positions in Washington DC (4/9)
Hilary Tompkins nominated as Interior Solicitor (3/26)
Obama fills another position at Interior Department (3/19)
Nominee for top Interior post faces hold in Senate (3/19)
Interior nominee finally gets Senate hearing (3/17)
Interview: Secretary Ken Salazar in his own words (03/06)
Salazar building Interior team with Native hires (3/5)
Obama touts Indian funding during Interior visit (3/4)
Obama to celebrate Interior's 160th anniversary (3/2)
NARF lawyer being considered for White House post (2/26)
Interior investigator to oversee stimulus for Obama (2/23)
Report slams BIA office in Alaska over roads funds (2/20)
Stimulus bill ready for Obama's signature (2/16)
Turtle Talk: Tribal tax exempt bonds and stimulus (2/12)
More Native picks expected at Obama's Interior (2/13)
Garcia hopeful in last State of Indian Nations (2/12)
First lady touts Indian agenda at Interior (2/10)
Native woman lands job in Obama's White House (2/9)
Larry EchoHawk quietly apologizing to tribes (2/6)
Larry EchoHawk won't comment on BIA nod (1/30)
Salazar pledges Indian focus at Interior Department (1/29)
Inouye praises Larry EchoHawk as BIA nominee (1/27)
Battle brews over Obama's potential BIA nominee (1/27)
Blog: The case against Larry EchoHawk for BIA (1/26)
Larry EchoHawk up for assistant secretary job (1/23)