Biden Administration Relaunches White House Council on Native American Affairs
Last week, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice convened the first White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) meeting of the Biden administration. The interagency council has not met regularly since 2016, but the Biden administration has prioritized getting resources out to Tribal communities.
The WHCNAA “represents an important commitment to strengthen Tribal sovereignty, uphold our commitment to Tribal Nations, and honor the United States’ nation-to-nation relationships,” said Secretary Haaland, who will serve as the Council’s Chair. “Addressing the systemic inequities that impact Indigenous peoples is the responsibility of every federal agency that will require an all-of-government approach across the Administration.”
Through the American Jobs Plan and American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration plans to address climate change, racial equity, COVID-19 response, and economic recovery in Tribal communities. Also, the WHCNAA will ensure that other federal agencies and departments are engaged in robust Tribal consultations.
“This inter-agency Council reinforces the Administration’s support for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance and will help to fulfill the Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations,” said Ambassador Rice.
Following the announcement of the WHCNAA meeting, Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said that its revival “sends a strong signal that this administration is committed to hearing from Native leaders and supporting Native communities.”
“I look forward to working with the Council on our shared commitment to upholding our federal trust and treaty responsibility to sovereign Tribal Nations and Native communities,” he continued.