Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., on January 15, 2018. Photo: Department of the Interior
National | Politics

Secretary Zinke refused to meet with National Park Service advisory board

Nearly all of the members of a federal advisory board have quit in protest of their "inexcusable" treatment by the Trump administration.

Secretary Ryan Zinke refused to meet with the National Park System Advisory Board or allow the board to meet since taking over the Department of the Interior, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported. Ten of the board's 12 members resigned as a result.

“We were frozen out,” Tony Knowles, a well-respected Democratic former governor of Alaska who served as chairman of the board, told The Post.

The board isn't the only one that has been hindered by the change in power in Washington, D.C. A committee that was established by Congress to ensure compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act hasn't met since March 2017, when Zinke joined the Trump administration.

The NAGPRA Review Committee, which consists of tribal officials, spiritual leaders and other experts was supposed to meet last July. But the session was canceled while the Trump team conducted a review of the review committee. No new members have been appointed since last April.

"We wanted to make sure the committee was operating with in the law and the membership adequately reflected what the law intended," John Tahsuda, a citizen of the Kiowa Tribe, who serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs for the new administration, said at a Congressional hearing in November.

It's not clear if the review turned up anything of note. A spokesperson for the Department of the Interior told The Post that “Boards have restarted" but didn't provide further details, the paper said.

The NAGPRA Program, incidentally, is housed within the National Park Service.

Read More on the Story:
Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration (The Washington Post January 17, 2018)
Majority of U.S. National Park Service board resigns, saying it was ignored (Reuters January 17, 2018)
Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel (The New York Times January 16, 2018)

Federal Register Notice:
National Park System Advisory Board; Charter Renewal (January 17, 2018)

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