Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) discusses Indian issues in farewell speech
Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) discusses Indian issues as he delivers his final speech on the U.S. Senate floor on December 8, 2020. Udall has served as the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs during the 116th Congress. He is retiring at the end of the session after two terms in the chamber. "The federal government’s obligation to uphold its trust and treaty obligations is sacred," said Udall, who served as New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives before winning election to the Senate. "Some of my proudest achievements have been the result of working with tribal leaders to advance Indian Country’s priorities and to support New Mexico’s 23 tribes," Udall said in his final speech. Udall will preside over his final hearing as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on December 9.
REMARKSAs I talk about my love of the land, I cannot neglect to acknowledge how much I have learned from the original stewards of this land – Native Americans. I got my start in politics working with my father, fighting alongside the Navajo uranium miners who had been hurt by this nation’s nuclear weapons program. My work as Vice Chair of the Indian Affairs Committee has been the honor of a lifetime. And another area where we’ve achieved bipartisan progress. I thank our chairman, Senator [John] Hoeven, and Senator [John] Barrasso before him, for their partnership and friendship. We’ve worked together as a committee for better health care, education, housing, and urgently-needed resources for Native communities – especially as they battle this pandemic. The federal government’s obligation to uphold its trust and treaty obligations is sacred. Some of my proudest achievements have been the result of working with tribal leaders to advance Indian Country’s priorities and to support New Mexico’s 23 tribes. Recently, a bipartisan coalition passed legislation to strengthen the principle of tribal self-governance, provide Native entrepreneurs critical resources, and secure investments in Native language revitalization. The achievements I remember most fondly are ones like these – those we did together. Indeed, those are the only kinds of achievements that are possible in this body. PDF: FULL REMARKS