AK Delegation Congratulates Tara Sweeney on Nomination for Key Role in Administration

Alaskan Chosen to be Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, today released the following statement after President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Tara Sweeney to be Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs within the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“I extend my congratulations and full support to Tara on her nomination to serve as Assistant Secretary,” said Murkowski. “Tara has a very strong record of professionalism and accomplishment in Alaska, across the country, and internationally, especially with the indigenous people of the circumpolar north. She has significant experience on Arctic issues and chaired the Arctic Economic Council. She is an expert on energy, infrastructure, broadband, economic development, Native self-determination, and a wide range of policy issues that will come before her. Secretary Zinke could not have chosen a better leader to help him fulfill the federal government’s trust responsibility, and I know Tara has the heart and drive to excel in this position.”

“This is a historic appointment for Alaskans and for the country,” said Sullivan. “I’ve worked with Tara Sweeney for years and I have witnessed first-hand her integrity, her strong leadership skills and her devotion to public service. Tara has a deep love for our state and people, and is relentless in her commitment to securing a better future for Alaska and the nation. With her long history of advocating for Alaska Native cultural values, rights, and economic opportunity, I can’t think of anyone better to have as our nation’s next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.”                    

“This is an absolutely outstanding choice,” said Young. “Tara’s knowledge, experience and leadership will go a long way in straightening out the BIA, allowing it to run more efficiently for the good of all First Americans. She has extensive experience not only in business, but also within Alaska Native groups and organizations. Tara knows first-hand the fight for Native empowerment and self-determination because she’s been on the front lines for years.  There’s long been a problem with Native issues not receiving the priority they deserve but with Tara Sweeney at the helm, I have no doubt the Department of Interior will be paying close attention and the voices of our Native communities will be heard. Tara follows in great Alaskan footsteps, those of my dear friend Morris Thompson, and will do a fantastic job working on behalf of American Indians and Alaska Natives across the country.”

Tara Sweeney is Iñupiaq and a lifelong Alaskan from Utqiagvik (Barrow). She currently serves as the executive vice president of external affairs for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), the largest Alaska-owned and operated business. Tara has served on the Alaska Federation of Natives Board since 2007, previously serving as board co-chairman. She earned her bachelor’s degree in science from Cornell University.

The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs is one of five assistant secretaries at the Department of the Interior, reporting to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs supports the Secretary of the Interior in fulfilling the United States’ trust responsibility to the Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages and individual Indian trust beneficiaries, as well as in upholding the Federal-Tribal government-to-government relationship.

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