In These Times: Obama administration picks
Winona LaDuke Says: "The most serious challenge facing the new secretary of interior will be the bureaucratic mayhem that politicians have created. Worse, many of these lawmakers still fail to recognize Native people as part of true sovereign nations, especially in relation to the United States.

Susan M. Williams — a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota tribe — would help untangle this mess. Her commitment to the environment and her involvement in civic affairs make her an excellent choice for the post.

After getting a degree from Harvard Law School (and working there as a lecturer), Williams worked in firms committed to Native law and served on boards that focus on improving relations between the federal government and tribes.

Typically, the Interior Department oversees efforts to uphold treaty rights and agreements with the federal government. What’s at stake for Native people is the right to live on healthy land, have access to clean water and maintain control over their natural resources. The department also assists Indigenous tribes in creating a sustainable future for themselves.Williams lobbied for amendments that affected tribes’ water rights and tax status.

Add to this résumé Williams’ membership in various bar associations — the American Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar, New Mexico Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar — and she couldn’t be better qualified for the position."

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Our Picks for an Obama Cabinet (In These Times 9/26)

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