January 28, 2011

Senate Majority Leader Says Senator Akaka to Chair Indian Affairs Committee, Likely Committee Membership is Announced

Washington D.C. –
The leadership and membership for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for the 112th Congress began firming up this week as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he is naming Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) as the panel’s new Chairman.
Akaka is expected to officially assume the Chairmanship of the Committee Tuesday, February 1, 2011. He succeeds U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan who retired at the end of the 111th Congress.
“I know [Senator Akaka] will be a strong advocate for America’s indigenous people on the Indian Affairs Committee, just as Chairman Inouye was when he was chairman of the committee.” said Senator Reid. “He is an important member of our caucus, and I am excited about his new role.”
Committee membership is expected to remain much the same as it was in the previous Congress. In addition to Senator Akaka, majority party members Inouye, Conrad, Johnson, Cantwell, Tester, Udall and Franken are expected to continue their service on the committee for the 112th Congress. On the minority side, Vice Chairman John Barrasso and Senators McCain, Murkowski, Crapo and Johanns are expected to continue to serve on the committee. Newly elected Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) is expected to join the minority membership of the Committee.
“I am looking forward to chairing the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and working to address the complex issues facing the indigenous people of our country,” said Senator Akaka. “Native communities across the nation face unique challenges, including disparities in economic development, health care, public safety, education and energy development.
“Last month, President Obama announced the United States’ support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The President’s announcement stresses our country’s commitment to strengthening government-to-government relationships with its indigenous people. It is important that we hear from native communities across the nation as we work to strengthen these mutually beneficial relationships. I believe the United States can serve as a model for the rest of the world in the treatment of its first people. I am eager to holo imua – to move forward.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Barry E. Piatt: 202-224-1191 or Jesse Broder Van Dyke: 202-224-7045