Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced key members of agency leadership who will work to advance President Biden’s agenda to tackle climate change, protect endangered wildlife, and honor relationships and trust responsibilities with Indigenous communities.
“The Interior Department is hard at work turning President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda into reality. These new team members will help serve our mission to honor the federal government’s trust responsibilities to Indian Country, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and conserve our public lands and waters for current and future generations,” said Chief of Staff Lawrence Roberts.
Interior’s political team proudly reflects the diversity of America, with more than 60 percent identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or people of color) and 70 percent as women.
The appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:
Joaquin R. Gallegos (Jicarilla Apache Nation/Pueblo of Santa Ana) recently served as a law clerk to Judge Allison H. Eid on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously, Joaquin served as a legislative staff attorney to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He has also served as a legal fellow to former Senator Tom Udall on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and as a policy fellow to former Senator Byron Dorgan at the Aspen Institute. Joaquin graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the University of Colorado Denver.
Wizipan Little Elk is a citizen of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). Most recently, he served as the CEO of the REDCO ecosystem of organizations. Wizipan’s previous experience includes serving within the Sicangu Oyate government and at the Interior Department as deputy chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Arizona. Wizipan is a hunter and writer. He lives on the homelands of the Sicangu and is married to the love of his life and together raise four children.
Michael Martinez most recently served as a policy analyst for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, where he focused on water resources and fisheries in western Washington. He previously served for seven years as a natural resources law and policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Michael also served for over a decade in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and as a judicial law clerk at the Washington Supreme Court. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources recreation planning and management, master’s degrees in environmental studies and environmental law, and a Juris Doctor.
Matt Strickler most recently served as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources and Chief Resilience Officer to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Before those roles, Matt worked for nearly six years as a senior policy advisor and professional staff member for the House Committee on Natural Resources, and as a legislative aide in the Virginia General Assembly. Matt is from Lexington, Virginia and holds master’s degrees in marine science and public policy from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the College of William and Mary.