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Interior secretary’s tribal advisors announced

 Pueblo of Tesuque sign in New Mexico.
Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Pueblo of Tesuque sign in New Mexico.

News brief

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently announced the launch of her tribal advisory committee.

The goal of the 12-member committee is to get input from tribal leaders on issues from day one.

“For years this is what we’ve been asking for,” said Mark Mitchell, a committee member from the Mountain West. He’s from the Pueblo of Tesuque and is the chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors in New Mexico.

Mitchell compared the national committee to working with local governments on development projects. He says tribes are usually brought in halfway through a project and that leads to duplicated work and missed opportunities.

“Wouldn’t it be easier if you called us to the table at the very beginning, then we can collaborate and discuss the issue?” Mitchell said.

He speculates bringing Indigneous knowledge to the Interior Department sooner could have drastically impacted issues like climate change.

Committee members, who hold two-year terms, represent the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs regions. There is also an alternate member in each region, according to an Interior Department news release.

“Tribes deserve a seat at the decision-making table before policies are made that impact their communities,” Haaland said in the release. “Tribal members who are joining the first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee will be integral to ensuring tribal leaders can engage at the highest levels of the department on the issues that matter most to their people.”

Here are the primary and alternative members in the Mountain West:

  • Councilwoman Jody LaMere of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation 
  • Chairman Jordan Dresser of the Northern Arapaho Business Council 
  • President Jonathan Nez of the Navajo Nation 
  • Council Delegate Daniel Tso of the Navajo Nation 
  • APCG Chairman Mark Mitchell  (Pueblo of Tesuque)
  • Governor Christopher Moquino of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso
  • Chairman Amber Torres of the Walker River Paiute Tribe 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 KUNM. To see more, visit KUNM.

Emma Gibson
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