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Northern Arapaho Tribal Council Alarmed At Sen. Barrasso's Comments At Interior Confirmation

The Northern Arapaho Tribe

Wyoming's U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced opposition to Deb Haaland during last week's confirmation hearing for secretary of the interior. During the hearing, Barrasso was critical of Haaland's record on fossil fuel. Barrasso quoted a recent letter written by the Northern Arapaho Business Council about how the Wyoming tribe is just as reliant on fossil fuels as the rest of the state.

However, he failed to mention that in that same letter, the Northern Arapaho Business Council said they are in support of Haaland's appointment.

Northern Arapaho Business Council Chair Jordan Dresser said that while the tribe is reliant on fossil fuels, that doesn't change the excitement for the first Native American secretary of the interior—a role that has great impact on Indian Country.

"Here's somebody who's us. She's one of us," he said.

Dresser is excited to work on making the tribe less fossil fuel dependent and is looking at solar and wind as viable alternatives. He said the Wind River Indian Reservation has a lot of potential for renewable energy.

"She has a platform where she believes in the power of green energy. What it can do for not only the earth but the tribes in a sense," he said. "If you think about it, the Wind River has wind, we have water, we have everything. So why don't we make that the bulk of our funding?"

Dresser was elected to tribal council late last year with renewable energy as part of his platform.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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