Kevin Abourezk: Franken on Indian Affairs panel
"A legislative committee charged with addressing the legislative needs of Native, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native people has added an interesting name to its 15-member roster: U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) named Franken to the committee. The committee's chairman and fellow Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.) said Friday he looks forward to working with Franken.

"We welcome Senator Franken as a member of the committee, and look forward to having his help as the committee works to improve the lives of Native Americans, meet the federal government's treaty obligations, and strengthen health care, law enforcement and economic development efforts in their communities," Dorgan said in a news release.

While some of the more conservative members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs are likely to groan at Franken's appointment, I imagine most in Indian Country will welcome a former comedian to the committee's ranks.

Most tribes place a high value in humor, and I can't think of a politician who would better meet those standards of comedy than a former "Saturday Night Live" performer.

Also, it's appropriate that Franken join the committee for political purposes as his constituent state of Minnesota is home to nearly 40,000 Native Americans, including the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Indians, Fund du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Lower Sioux Indian Community, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Prairie Island Indian Community, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Upper Sioux Community and White Earth Band."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Franken Joins Indian Affairs Committee (RezNet News 7/10)

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