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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Secretary Kempthorne and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech Bid Farewell to Interior and OIA



Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, January 14, 2009, Secretary Kempthorne delivered his farewell remarks to Department of the Interior staff members at an all-employee meeting in the Yates Auditorium of the Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C.  He expressed his appreciation to employees for their hard work and professionalism and said that he believed Interior to be the best department ever for which to work.

Later the same day Secretary Kempthorne paid a visit to the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) to bid a personal farewell to OIA staff members.  Staff members presented the Secretary with gifts normally bestowed upon a matai (chief) in American Samoa:  a kava bowl, a to'oto'o (talking stick) and a fue (fly whisk) – all symbols of a matai's authority.  The gifts were fitting given that in June 2007, when visiting American Samoa, Secretary Kempthorne had received from the territory's paramount chiefs and high talking chiefs the matai title of Pulele'i'ite, which means "the ruler who can foretell the future".

In presenting the gifts to the Secretary, Director Nik Pula said, "Today I speak on behalf of the OIA staff and also, I believe, on behalf of the people of the territories and the freely associated states when I say, 'Thank you'.  Thank you for all the time and personal attention that you accorded to the issues and the people in the islands."

The Secretary and OIA staff members shared some cake before the Secretary headed on his way to other meetings.  Upon departing, the Secretary took with him the make-shift cards on the table which read "OIA heart DIRK".

Later in the week on Friday, January 16, OIA Director Pula and seventeen OIA staff members held a farewell luncheon for Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech at the Corcoran Gallery restaurant, one block from Main Interior.  Director Pula again expressed OIA's appreciation for the time, energy and advocacy that Mr. Domenech and out-going Secretary Kempthorne have given to the islands.

 Secretary Kempthorne Bids Farewell
Secretary Kempthorne Bids Farwell
 DOI gifts Sec. Kempthorne with Cabinet seat and Utah Highway Patrol Leather Jacket.
DOI gifts Sec Kempthorne with Cabinet
Seat and Utah Highway patrol Leather Jacket
 OIA staff awaiting Sec Kempthorne's visit
OIA staff awaiting Sec. Kempthorne's Visit.
 Sec Kempthorne visits OIA Jan15
Sec Kempthorne visits OIA Jan 15
 Nik presenting matai gifts to Sec Kempthorne, Pulele'i'ite Jan 14
Nik presenting matai gifts to
Sec Kempthorne, Pulele'i'lte Jan 14
 OIA Heart DIRK
OIA Hearts DIRK
 Sharing light moments in OIA conference room
Sharing light moments in
OIA conference room
 OIA staff Jan 09
OIA Staff Jan '09
 OIA staff host Doug Domenech for a going-away lunch at Corcoran
OIA staff host Doug Domenech
for a going-away lunch at Corcoran
 Nik Pula gives farewell speech for Doug Domenech
Nik Pula gives farewell
speech for Doug Domenech
 Nik presents photograph with OIA staff autographs for Doug Domenech
Nik presents photograph with OIA
staff autographs for Doug Domenech

 Nik presents photograph
Nik presents photograph with OIA
staff autographs for Doug Domenech