WASHINGTON DC –
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed, by unanimous consent, the President’s nomination of Larry Echo Hawk to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior.
Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND) heralded the Senate’s quick passage of the nomination, noting that the post has been vacant for more than four of the past eight years. Dorgan called the lack of leadership at the position “shameful, given the significant challenges facing Indian Country.” Senator Dorgan said he appreciated Mr. Echo Hawk’s commitment to serve the full four years of President Obama’s term if the President wants him to do so, something he said will bring “needed stability” to the post.
Mr. Echo Hawk was nominated for the position on April 20, 2009. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held his nomination hearing on May 7th, and the Committee voted in favor on the nomination on May 14th. “The committee acted quickly and in a bi-partisan way on this nomination. Now the Senate has done he same. This prompt action is testimony to the many qualities Mr. Echo Hawk brings to the post, and recognition, at long last, that this post needs consistent, steady leadership,” Dorgan said.
The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs develops Interior Department policy on Indian related issues and makes budget recommendations that affect Indian education, public safety, social health and welfare, economic development, energy development, federal recognition of Tribes, and other issues.
Once he is sworn into the office, Mr. Echo Hawk will also oversee agencies that carry out those functions. These agencies include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), the Office of Indian Gaming, the Office of Self-Governance, the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (OIEED), the Office of Federal Acknowledgement, the Office of Budget Management, and other offices at the Department of the Interior relating to Indian Tribes, individual Indians and Indian lands.