PHILADELPHIA — The Office of President-elect has named Kevin Washburn (Chickasaw) to head a team reviewing the U.S. Department of the Interior for the Biden-Harris transition.
With the transfer of power taking place when President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are inaugurated at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, the team is charged with making recommendations for key positions within the Interior Dept., including secretary and assistant secretary – Indian Affairs.
Many tribal leaders are promoting the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to become Interior secretary. Haaland was reelected on Election Day to serve her second term in the House of Representatives. She along with Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) became the first two Native American women to serve in Congress.
The Interior Dept. is one of the most important federal departments to Indian Country because it is home to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, Office of Special Trustee, and Bureau of Land Management.
Washburn, the current University of Iowa College of Law dean, served as the assistant secretary - Indian Affairs for four years during the Obama-Biden administration. While in his post, Washburn was a popular figure in Indian Country.
Washburn will lead a team of 11 others evaluating the operations of the Interior Dept., which has 70,000 employees in over 2,400 operating locations.
A graduate from the University of Oklahoma and Yale Law School, Washburn was general counsel to the National Indian Gaming Commission. He has taught one year at Harvard University.
Among the other 11 volunteers is Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), who served during the Obama-Biden administration as the director of the Office of Tribal Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Currently, Hipp serves as the president and CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund.
More Stories Like ThisCatholic Priest Accuses Residential School Survivors of Lying About Abuse
“Tó éí iiná” Water Bottle Raises Funds for Navajo Nation
Indigenous womens’ fellowship aimed at ‘mending the gap’ between Native generations
Merle Sapulpa, Great-grandson of Chief Sapulpa, Passes Away
Navajo Nation Mourns Death of World War II Army and POW Veteran Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.