Lisa Murkowski, Alaska’s senior United States Senator, is serving as the 14th Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. She has been a member of the Committee since first joining the Senate in 2003 and previously served as Vice Chairman from 2007 to 2009. During that tenure as Vice Chairman, she was able to secure the first reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act in over a decade, as well as shepherd the Tribal Law and Order Act through the Senate.
Senator Murkowski is respected among members of Congress on matters pertaining to Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Native Hawaiian people. The Senator has long been a champion of policy and funding that build upon priorities that promote and sustain tribal self-determination and self-governance. She has earned the National Congress of American Indians’ coveted Congressional Leadership Award and the National Indian Health Board’s Jake White Crow Award for Lifetime Achievement. She is a founding director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute and has been selected on multiple occasions by the National Congress of American Indians to deliver the congressional response to the annual State of Indian Nations address.
In addition to being Vice Chairman of the Committee, Murkowski is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which funds the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Service. She is also a member, and former Chairman and Ranking Member, of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where she has been able to improve implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The Senator is the first Alaskan to serve on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where she advocates for education, public health, and native language preservation.
Senator Murkowski was adopted into the Tlingit tribe by the Deisheetaan clan and given the name –Aan shaawátk'I – meaning “Lady of the Land.” A third generation Alaskan and the first Alaskan born senator, Murkowski was born in Ketchikan and raised in towns across the state, including Wrangell, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage. She and her husband have two grown sons.