Richardson wants Cabinet-level Indian department

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) says he will seek to create a Cabinet-level Indian department if he is elected president.

"I would propose to make the cabinet secretary of Indian Affairs the Secretary of Indian Affairs; I would make it cabinet level. I would try, because I believe within the Department of the Interior it does not get the attention it deserves," Richardson tells Indian Country Today in an interview.

As governor, Richardson has appointed a record number of Indians in his administration. He elevated the state's Indian Affairs office to a Cabinet position.

As a congressman, Richardson's district included parts of the Navajo Nation, several Pueblos and the Jicarilla Apache Nation. He was a primary sponsor of the American Indian Trust Reform Act of 1994.

"I've actually done things, in New Mexico and as a congressman, that have helped Indian people. Look at deeds, not words," he says. "I've had a long record with Indian people and they would be very much a part of my administration."

Get the Story:
'I would have a cabinet department for Native American affairs': A conversation with presidential candidate Bill Richardson (Indian Country Today 2/23)

Relevant Links:
New Mexico Indian Affairs Department - http://www.state.nm.us/oia

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