Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary
|For Immediate Release:Dec. 9, 2003
Secretary Norton Lauds Senate's Confirmation of David Anderson as Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
(WASHINGTON) - Secretary Norton today praised the Senate's confirmation of David Anderson, a nationally recognized entrepreneur and American Indian leader, as Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
"Dave Anderson's inspiring
vision, proven management expertise and compassion for Indian issues
will help us improve our ability to support tribal governments,"
Secretary Norton said in commending the Senate's action. "Dave's
innovative leadership and dedication to constant improvement will serve
him well as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs."
The Senate confirmed Anderson on December 9. President Bush had nominated Anderson in September.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to accept the position as Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs. There are many opportunities and challenges ahead, and my first order of business is to continue to immerse myself in the issues at hand and to work hand-in-hand with the American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs to determine the immediate goals and priorities of these organizations," said David Anderson. "Next, I look forward to setting the stage for a new positive direction in Indian Country for our youth, one that is full of achievement and accomplishment. Our youth need to know that there isn't anything that we can't accomplish as Indian people if we start believing in ourselves and start taking full responsibility for own destinies."
The Assistant Secretary -
Indian Affairs is responsible for fulfilling Interior's trust responsibilities
and promoting self-determination on behalf of the 562 federally recognized
American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. The Assistant
Secretary also oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency with
10,500 employees nationwide, which is responsible for providing services
to about 1.4 million individual American Indians and Alaska Natives
from the federally recognized tribes.
Anderson, a member of the
Chippewa and Choctaw tribes and an enrolled member of the Lac Courte
Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwa, is a successful entrepreneur,
expert in revitalizing failing companies, and founder and chairman of
Famous Dave's of America, Inc. - one of the nation's fastest growing
chains of family restaurants. With his confirmation, Anderson steps
down as chairman of the Board of Directors and his other capacities
with Famous Dave's.
In 2001, Anderson also founded
the LifeSkills Center for Leadership, offering life-changing programs
for at-risk Indian youth and young adults. Television
personality Oprah Winfrey was so impressed that her Angel Network awarded
a $25,000 grant to the LifeSkills Center in 2002.
During his business career,
Anderson founded three publicly traded companies on Wall Street, created
more than 18,000 new jobs, and reorganized a number of failing businesses
in Indian Country, enabling them to become financially successful operations.
In 1982, Anderson, as chief
executive officer for the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa tribal enterprises,
built a team that successfully turned reservation businesses into profitable
and stable operations. Under his leadership, gross revenues increased
from $3.9 million to $8 million. This achievement was recognized by
President Reagan's Commission on Indian Reservation Economics.
Anderson has served on numerous
national and state commissions, including the American Indian Education
Foundation (2003); Presidential Advisory Council for Tribal Colleges
and Universities (2001); National Task Force on Reservation Gambling
(1983); Council on Minority Business Development for the State of Wisconsin
(1983); Wisconsin Council on Tourism (1983) and Harvard University's
Native American Program.
Having weathered the changing
fortunes of an entrepreneurial career, Anderson also has used his life
experiences to help others. As a public speaker he shares his optimism
and inspiration with youth groups and community organizations. "No
matter how tough things may seem today, if you hold fast to your dreams
and work hard, tomorrow's rewards will always come," Anderson has
His numerous honors include
being named a Bush Leadership Fellow (1985); recognized as Minnesota
and Dakota's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, NASDAQ,
and USA Today; Restaurateur of the Year by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine
(1998); and chosen an Olympic Torch Carrier of the 2002 Winter Olympics
by his community.
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