DOI News

A Thanksgiving Message from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar


As we look forward to a Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, we should also celebrate the Senate’s passage of five major settlements which are nothing short of historic for Native Americans, the first Americans. On November 19, the Senate approved legislation to authorize implementation of the Cobell Settlement, a $3.4 billion agreement that will resolve the class action lawsuit regarding the U.S. government's trust management. The Cobell settlement honorably and responsibly addresses long-standing injustices and is a major step forward in President Obama’s agenda of reconciliation and empowerment for Indian nations.

Last week the Senate also approved four major water rights settlements – totaling more than $1 billion - for American Indian tribes that will help deliver clean drinking water to Indian communities and provide certainty to water users across the West. I am hopeful that the House will soon act to pass these settlements as well. You can read more details about these settlements here.

The progress we have made over the last two years in reaching critical Indian country settlements is unprecedented and I am proud of the work of so many to make this happen.  

I wish you and your families a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Best regards,

Ken Salazar