Charles “Chuck” F. Sams III Opening Statement – Nominee, National Park Service
Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Charles “Chuck” F. Sams III delivers an opening statement at his confirmation hearing to serve as director of the National Park Service in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Sams is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, based in Oregon. He also has ties to the Yankton Sioux Tribe and the Cocopah Tribe.

“My great-grandmother, Mary, was a Walla Walla and Cayuse tribal member and the daughter of Chief Peo Peo Mox Mox, headman of the Walla Walla people,” Sams told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in his opening statement on October 19, 2021.

“My personal history is deeply interwoven with the fabric of our shared American history,” said Sams, who was accompanied to the hearing in Washington, D.C,. by his wife and their oldest child.

The hearing is the first step in the confirmation process for Sams. The next step would be for the committee to hold a business meeting and vote on his nomination. From there, he would go to the full U.S. Senate.

If confirmed by the chamber, Sams would be the first Native person to serve as director of the National Park Service, which is part of the Department of the Interior, the federal agency with the most trust and treaty responsibilities in Indian Country. Secretary Deb Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native person to lead the department.

“In Indian Country, we expect an open discussion with the federal government prior to making a decision, not after the fact,” Sams said in his statement. “If confirmed, I will bring this spirit of consultation to my service as director. I look forward to consulting with neighboring communities, stakeholders, local, state and tribal governments, and members of Congress, even when the conversations and topics are challenging.”

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Notice
Full Committee Hearing to Consider Pending Nominations (October 19, 2021)

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Tribal citizen nominated to lead National Park Service for first time in history (August 18, 2021)