The following statement was submitted on the Senate floor by Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in support of Carl J. Artman to be assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the Department of the Interior. February 12, 2007.
Mr. President, I will talk about something very important which will soon be pending before the Senate; that is, the nomination of Carl Joseph Artman as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
The Indian program in this country is very important. As part of the Government, we have part of the Interior Department working on it. I rise to offer my strong support for the nomination of Carl Artman for Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior. Mr. Artman is an excellent candidate with diversity and experience in both the public and private sectors and has the leadership and the academic credentials needed for this extraordinarily demanding position.
This position is unique in that many of the issues with respect to Indian affairs are unique. Yet it has to be someone who has background in government and operations. The Assistant Secretary implements Federal Indian policy set forth by the Congress and facilitates the government-to-government relationships with 561 Indian tribal governments. That is a large challenge.
The Assistant Secretary is responsible for a variety of activities and programs in Indian communities, including economic development, law enforcement, trust assessment management, social services, and education. In discharging these duties, the Assistant Secretary must balance many competing interests and needs in working with the States, in working with the tribes, and in working with the Federal Government. Mr. Artman has pledged to facilitate more vibrant communication among the Indian tribes and their neighbors. I believe that is helpful in terms of furthering Federal policies of interaction with the Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis and encouraging Indian self-determination and self-government. That is our challenge and the challenge the tribes take, to become more independent economically and from a government standpoint so they can operate as they choose with self-government.
The job of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs has been made exponentially more difficult by the methamphetamine plague that has ravaged the Indian tribes and the Indian communities. I am encouraged by Mr. Artman's commitment to fighting and defeating this epidemic, which may require aggressive efforts by the agency he will lead as well as other Federal and tribal partners to achieve measurable results.
Mr. Artman is also committed to assisting tribal governments develop the socioeconomic infrastructure and fight the obstacles in many of our Indian reservations that foster hopelessness and despair. One of the issues is to provide opportunities for the tribal members to have jobs, to be somewhat sufficient and self-supporting in terms of their economy.
Although many Indian tribes have made tremendous gains through tribal self-governance and some have managed to flourish materially in recent years through economic development, it is a common misperception that most tribes have experienced economic prosperity as a result of successful gaming facilities. In fact, poverty and unemployment are sill prevalent in far too many communities in Indian Country. A robust and diversified economy is essential to improving the quality of life of these communities and to providing the people living in them with alternatives to such heartbreaking problems of suicide and substance abuse, of which there is an abundance.
I am confident that Mr. Artman will provide outstanding leadership in this daunting challenge. I urge my friends in the Senate to approve his confirmation, which I hope will come before the Senate in the very near future.
I yield the floor.
HEARING on the President's nomination of Mr. Carl Joseph Artman, to be Assistant
Secretary-Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
(February 1, 2007
September 2006 Senate Confirmation Hearing:Webcast
White House News:Personnel
(August 1, 2006)
Oneida Nation - http://www.oneidanation.org
Indian Affairs Committee - http://indian.senate.gov
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