National | Politics

Tribes hail nomination of Michael Connor for top Interior post

Michael L. Connor, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation

Tribal leaders welcomed the nomination of Michael L. Connor, a descendant of Taos Pueblo, as deputy secretary of the Interior Department.

If confirmed by the Senate, Connor would be the first Native American in the second-highest ranking post at the department. He's well known for his work on tribal water rights as commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

"Throughout his career, commissioner Connor has been a strong advocate for Indian country and issues affecting Indian country, particularly Indian water rights," Mark Macarro, the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, said in a press release.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly also welcomed the news. "He has demonstrated excellence in leadership and has experience working with tribal nations on a nation-to-nation basis," Shelly said of Connor.

The National Congress of American Indians voiced support as well. "Throughout Mr. Connor’s career he has proven his commitment to positive working relationships with tribal nations," the organization said.

"We are confident that Mr. Connor will be a strong partner for Indian Country and we look forward to working with him to advance our nation-to-nation relationship," NCAI said.

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