Tom Questions Secretary Zinke on Interior Department Priorities for Indian Country
Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, questioned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at the committee's oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s priorities for Indian Country. This was Zinke's first appearance before the committee as secretary. Joining Secretary Zinke on the witness panel were several Tribal leaders including Chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, Paul Torres, the former governor of the Pueblo of Isleta; the Honorable Alvin Not Afraid Jr., chairman of the Crow Nation; the Honorable Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation; and the Honorable Keith Anderson, vice chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Udall emphasized the importance of a strong government-to-government relationship between the federal government and Indian Country, and he took the opportunity to ask Zinke to commit to meaningfully consult with Tribes on issues that affect their communities. Udall also addressed a number of other matters, including Chaco Canyon and the newly created Bears Ears National Monument; and how the federal hiring freeze is inhibiting the federal government's ability to uphold its trust and treaty obligations to provide Native communities with the services that are owed to them, such as health care and education.