This Week at Interior November 19, 2021


This Week at Interior  

President Biden convened the first White House Tribal Nations Summit of his Administra­­­tion this week. The two-day summit spotlighted ways the federal government can invest in and strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country for years to come. The President and Secretary Haaland unveiled several Administration initiatives at the summit, including new protections for Tribal treaty rights, increasing Tribal participation in the management and stewardship of federal lands, and incorporating Tribal ecological knowledge into the federal government’s fight against climate change. And he signed an executive order addressing the crisis of violence against Native Americans. 

These efforts — again, to use the word my dad would use much — are a matter of dignity.  That’s the foundation of our nation-to-nation partnership.  That’s what this summit is all about. So, I want to thank everyone who’s here for participating, and I look forward to continuing to work together. 

Our voices have been given a new platform. And I am just one of those who have taken this historic opportunity to move past the days of inaction and apathy, to take Native issues to the forefront of policy discussions and to ensure Tribal consultation is the accepted way of doing business in Indian Country.  

The President also announced that Interior is taking new steps to protect Chaco Canyon and its greater connected landscape in northwest New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management will propose protections against new oil and gas leasing on federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Secretary Haaland called this area a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked and thrived in that high desert community. 

And when it comes to the Tribal Nations Summit there was no better place to "Rock Your Mocs." The Secretary wore hers, joining Indigenous folks around the world this week as they celebrated Indigenous culture and the significance of moccasins to Native heritage. 

Secretary Haaland stood alongside President Biden as he signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law this week. Afterward she joined fellow Cabinet members to highlight key portions of the law, which include significant investments to address the climate crisis and its effects on our most vulnerable communities. 

And with that infrastructure law in place visitors to our national parks may soon see the use of cutting edge, green transportation technology. Secretary Haaland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg signed an agreement this week to explore the introduction of self-driving shuttle buses, electric scooters, and electric charging stations for zero-emission cars. 

Secretary Haaland joined Massachusetts leaders in Barnstable this week to commemorate the groundbreaking for the Vineyard Wind 1 project, the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States. This project is the first of many that will contribute to the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and to Massachusetts’ goal of 5.6 GW by 2030. 

Interior's Office of Law Enforcement and Security this week announced its DOI Investigator Training Program has been reaccredited by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board. The program provides investigative training for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal Organizations, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police. 

After years of conservation efforts by the U.S. Air Force, the Okaloosa darter has made a remarkable recovery. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz was in Florida this week to announce that the small fish no longer needs to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Okaloosa darter is found solely in two Florida counties. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, it's autumn in Arkansas, as we can see in this stunning image of Hot Springs National Park. The park turns 100 this year, but the landscape is ancient...and it's home to thermal springs, mountain views, incredible geology, abundant creeks, and forests ablaze with the colors of the season.  

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That’s This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: It's the first White House Tribal Nations Summit of the Biden-Harris Administration; Interior takes new steps to protect the historic Chaco Canyon and its greater connected landscape in northwest New Mexico; the Secretary joins Indigenous people around the world for "Rock Your Mocs" Day; the newly-signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will include significant investments to address the climate crisis and its effects on our most vulnerable communities; Secretary Haaland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sign an agreement that could bring green transportation technology to our national parks; the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States breaks ground in Massachusetts; Interior's Investigator Training Program gets reaccredited at the federal level; the Okaloosa darter makes a remarkable recovery in Florida; and Arkansas' autumnal colors shine in our social media Picture of the Week!