Rep. Dale Kildee
(D-Michigan), one of the strongest advocates for Indian issues in Congress, announced his retirement after more than 30 years of service. He will not seek re-election in 2012.
Kildee began serving in the House in 1977. But his interest in Indian issues began as a state lawmaker, when he helped protect a treaty right to tuition at public universities and colleges in Michigan.
Kildee always said his interest was motivated by his father, who told him about the forced burning and removal of a Michigan tribe from their village in the late 1800s
His father remembered the event "all his life and told us kids how
unfair the Indians were treated," the congressman said at a hearing in November 2009.
Once in Congress, Kildee became an advocate for tribes on health care, education, economic development, trust and other issues.
He was a co-founder of the House Native American Caucus in 1997, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and currently serves on the House Natural Resources Committee
, which oversees Indian issues.
“No one ever for a second doubted that he always carried the tribes’ best interests in his heart," Chris Stearns, a member of the Navajo Nation
who previously worked on the committee, told Indian Country Today.
Kildee's main push lately has been a bill to fix the U.S. Supreme Court
decision in Carcieri
ensures that all tribes can follow the land-into-trust process.
Get the Story:
Rep. Kildee, Native American House Caucus Founder, to Retire
(Indian Country Today 7/22)
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