Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
WASHINGTON Sally Jewell, the chief executive officer of the outdoor company Recreational Equipment Inc., was nominated by President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday to be the next secretary of the US Department of the Interior.
President Obama, Nominee Sally Jewell applauding outgoing Secretary Salazar in the White House State Dining Room yesterday.
If confirmed by the US Senate, Ms. Jewell will replace Ken Salazar, who announced he is leaving the post at the end of March so that he can spend more time with his family in Colorado.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education are housed within the US Department of the Interior. So, the position of secretary for the Interior Department is viewed important to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The White House Tribal Nations Conferences are hosted by Department of the Interior.
"Sally went on to work in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Colorado. Later, she brought her experience in the energy sector to banking, where she spent 19 years determining what makes companies succeed and fail. And most recently as the CEO of REI a position that she's held for the last eight years Sally has helped turn a stalling outdoor retailer into one of America's most successful and environmentally conscious companies. Last year, REI donated almost $4 million to protect trails and parks, and 20 percent of the electricity used in their stores comes from renewable sources,"
said President Obama at the announcement.
"So even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located, she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation to nation relationship with Indian country,"
added the President.
The National Congress of American Indians released the following statement soon after the White House announcement:
"As a key partner in advancing the trust relationship between the United States and tribal nations, the Secretary of the Interior is a critical component in carrying forward this trust and fulfilling the promise of a new era in US tribal relations. Over the last four years, this trust relationship has a new focus from all corners of government."
"Ms. Jewell's career indicates that, like other leaders in the Northwest, her efforts have often intersected with and supported the timeless wisdom of tribal nations in relation to natural resource issues. Her career has also included service on boards of organizations that have partnered with tribes to expand educational opportunities for Native people, develop renewable and responsible energy solutions with the private sector and government agencies, and emphasize the importance of Native cultures and languages."
“Sally has a great reputation up here in Seattle and the Northwest. She may not be a familiar face outside of the Northwest, especially in Indian country, but she is a proven leader and someone whom I predict will enthusiastically work with tribes,”
commented Chris Stearns, chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission and a Navajo attorney practicing Indian law with Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, to the Native News Network Wednesday evening.
“She has a very inclusive management style but also understands finance. I think she will be very open to tackling the need to revitalize the economies in Indian country and will be a dependable ally.”
“Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind words and for the confidence you're placing in me with this nomination,”
“I have a great job at REI today, but there's no role that compares than the call to serve my country as Secretary of the Department of Interior. I'm humbled and I'm energized by this opportunity, and I look forward to getting to know members of the Senate as they consider my nomination in the coming weeks.”
Ms. Jewell has been married to her husband, Warren, for 34 years and has two children.
The timeframe for the Senate hearings for the Interior post has not been announced.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza;
posted February 7, 2013 6:10 am est