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Haaland reveals members of new tribal committee

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo). (File photo)

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) released the list of tribal members appointed to the first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) June 15.

The idea of the STAC was first announced as part of the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit. Haaland used the occasion of remarks at the 2022 National Congress of American Indians midyear conference to release the completed list.

The STAC is designed to ensure tribal leaders have “direct and consistent contact and communication with the current and future [Interior] Department officials to facilitate robust discussions on intergovernmental responsibilities, exchange views, share information and provide advice and recommendations regarding departmental programs and funding that impact tribal nations to advance the federal trust responsibility,” a news release said.

“Tribes deserve a seat at the decision-making table before policies are made that impact their communities,” Haaland said in her remarks at the NCAI conference. “I look forward to continued engagement and ensuring that the department honors and strengthens our nation-to-nation relationships with tribes.” 

The STAC is composed of a primary and alternate tribal representative from each of the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regions. The members are appointed on a staggered term for up to two years. Haaland and Bryan Newland, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, will designate one member of the STAC to serve as chairperson, the release said. 

Members of the STAC, listed by BIA region, are as follows.

Alaska region 

Primary: Robert Keith, president, Native Village of Elim. Alternate: Gayla Hoseth, second tribal chief for the Curyung Tribal Council.

Eastern region (which includes Florida) 

Primary: Kelly Dennis, councilwoman, Shinnecock Indian Nation. Alternate: Stephanie Bryan, tribal chair, Poarch Creek Indians.

Eastern Oklahoma region 

Primary: Gary Batton, chief, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Alternate: Del Beaver, second chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Great Plains region 

Primary: Dionne Crawford, councilwoman, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate for the Lake Traverse District. Alternate: Cora White Horse, councilwoman, Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Midwest region 

Primary: Whitney Gravelle, president, Bay Mills Indian Community. Alternate: Michelle Beaudin, councilwoman, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. 

Navajo region  

Primary: Jonathan Nez, president, Navajo Nation. Alternate: Daniel Tso, council delegate, Navajo Nation.

Northwest region 

Primary: Kat Brigham, chair of the board of trustees, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation. Alternate: Timothy Greene, chairman, Makah Tribe. 

Pacific region

Primary: Erica Pinto, chairwoman, Jamul Indian Village of California. Alternate: Reid Milanovich, chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Rocky Mountain region 

Primary: Jody LaMere, councilwoman, Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. Alternate: Jordan Dresser, chairman, Northern Arapaho Business Council.

Southern Plains region 

Primary: Walter Echo-Hawk, chairman, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Alternate: Reggie Wassana, governor, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

Southwest region 

Primary: Mark Mitchell, APCG chairman, Pueblo of Tesuque. Alternate: Christopher Moquino, governor, Pueblo de San Ildefonso.

Western region 

Primary: Amber Torres, chairman, Walker River Paiute Tribe. Alternate: Terry Rambler, chairman, San Carlos Apache Tribe.