Secretary Salazar Tells Indian Country Recovery Package Includes Major Initiatives to Create Jobs, Stimulate Economic Activity
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speaking to the to the 111th Congress of American Indians Tribal Nations Legislative Summit, today highlighted more than $2 billion in President Obama’s economic recovery package to create jobs and economic opportunity in Indian Country.
Topic: The Secretary says close to a half billion of the money will come through Interior Department Programs.
“Through the Department of Interior we fought for and we were able to receive $450 million dollars to fix roads and to repair and construct schools and to strengthen detention centers and to bolster law enforcement. We were able to get $40 million additional dollars for housing improvements and for workforce training. So that is close to half a billion dollars that will come through the economic stimulus package to help Indian country.”
Topic: Secretary Salazar says that Indian country will play a key role and benefit economically from the administration’s renewable energy development plans.
“As we move forward with what will be a virtual energy revolution for the United States of America, that Indian country should not be left behind, that you should be at the table. So as we harness the power of the sun in the construction of what will be 350 megawatt solar power plants across the Southwest or in the Great Plains of the Dakotas we harness the great power of the wind to bring about renewable energy, we need to make sure that the Native American communities are also participants and beneficiaries of that renewable energy revolution.”
Topic: Secretary Salazar pledges to make education a top priority.
“One of the responsibilities that I take most seriously is the responsibility that we have in working with the BIE to make sure that the 49,000 children that we have educational responsibility for along with the Indian tribes that we do the very best so we can. And so we will very hard to make sure that schools are constructed, that we have the right kinds of teachers to provide teaching in those schools and that we do not leave our children behind. That I commit to all of you.” (applause)
Topic: Secretary Salazar commented on the ongoing Cobell litigation.
“We are committed to trying to move that issue forward to a point where we can get it resolved because there are so many other issues that we need to work on together. And frankly until we get that issue resolved I think it is a distraction and a blemish on the other things that we have to do with respect to Indian country.”