June 23, 2010

U.S. Senate Votes to Confirm Three Presidential Nominees to Indian Affairs Positions

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to approve three nominations approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee including the President’s nomination of Tracie Stevens to serve as Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). The NIGC is the primary federal agency responsible for regulating Indian gaming and protecting Indian gaming as a means of generating tribal revenue.
The Senate also voted to confirm the nominations of Joann Lynn Balzar and Cynthia Chavez Lamar to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development (IAIA).
“All three of these nominees were extremely well-qualified candidates, and I’m pleased that the United States Senate acted promptly to confirm their nominations,” said Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND). “I’m confident that Tracie Stevens’ extensive work in government affairs and tribal issues will serve as a strong background for her new role as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.”
Stevens is an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington and a graduate of the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). Since July 2009, Stevens has served as the Senior Advisor to the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs where she handled a wide range of policy issues including Indian gaming, public safety, and land into trust.
Balzar received her undergraduate degree from Westminster College and earned a Master’s of Science in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. Since retiring from a very successful career at IBM Corporation, Balzar has served as director of a number of foundations, associations, and societies in promotion of Western, Southwestern, Spanish Colonial and American Indian Art.
Chavez Lamar graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She later earned a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies from The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Ph.D. in American Studies in 2001 from the University of New Mexico. She served as the Associate Curator at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC for five years and now works as the Director of the Indian Arts Research Center at The School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
As members of the IAIA Board, Balzar and Chavez Lamar will formulate the policy of the IAIA, direct the management of the IAIA, and make rules and bylaws for the administration of the functions of the IAIA. The primary functions of the IAIA include providing scholarly study and instruction in Indian art and culture and establishing programs that award of degrees in various fields of Indian art and culture
Contact: Barry Pattern