Published March 1, 2017
WASHINGTON – The United States Senate confirmed Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) as the Secretary of the Interior Wednesday (March 1, 2017), which is one of the most important federal posts to American Indians and Alaska Natives because the Interior department houses Indian Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education.
Zinke was confirmed by a 68 – 31 vote. Among other Trump cabinet nominees, Zinke fared better than others. He received 17 votes from Democrats, including three Democrats who sit on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs: Tom Udall (New Mexico), who serves as the Committee’s vice chairman; Jon Tester (Montana) and Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota).
“As the vice chairman of Senate Indian Affairs Committee and a representative of 23 tribes and pueblos in New Mexico, I am already deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s disrespectful and rash early actions on Tribal issues, including its decision to move forward with construction on the current route of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” stated Senator Udall after the confirmation vote.
“I have impressed upon Congressman Zinke that he must work to help President Trump understand our trust and treaty obligations to Tribes and the need for meaningful consultation on any issue that affects Native American lands and culture, including the ongoing process to determine a Resource Management Plan in the greater Chaco Canyon area. I was encouraged by Congressman Zinke’s promise to be a ‘strong advocate’ for Native Americans, and I intend to hold him to that promise.”
Zinke is a former Navy SEAL commander and former quarterback at the University of Oregon, where he received a degree in geology.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.