Published on January 21, 2013 by Amy
A considerable amount of time is being consumed in the Washington version of musical chairs with the now Cabinet openings for secretarial position at the US Department of Labor and US Department of the Interior, now that Secretary Salazar announced he wants to go home to Colorado.
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In all probability these positions will be filled by high level contributors and friends or supporters of the President. In both the case of the Labor and Interior Departments, these positions have high impact in Indian country. The most likely will not be filled by an American Indian or Alaska Native.
However, there are other positions still available that an American Indian supporter or contributor should be considered for appointment.
The President still has open positions on the National Labor Relations Board to which an American Indian should be appointed.
Instead of only waiting for an America Indian to resign to appoint another American Indian, what is wrong with an American Indian being appointed to a non-Indians traditional job?
It took Indian country nearly 200 years to get an American Indian appointed as Solicitor of the Interior Department. Are we to wait another 200 years to get a lower level appointment to the National Labor Relations Board?
The National Labor Relations Board positions are for only five years, which means that an American Indian appointed by the President would only have to serve for one year with the next president who will succeed President Obama.
Other opportunities will be openings for federal judgeships. The President should seriously consider nominating an American Indian to any opening for the federal bench, including the next time there is an opening on the US Supreme Court.
And if someone wants to argue that we need to shoot for higher positions, then there is the now open position of Chief of Staff to the President.
Ron Andrade is a tribal citizen of the La Jolla Band of LuiseÃ±o Indians located in the county of San Diego and previously served on the tribal council. He is the executive director of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission. He served as the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, which is the largest and oldest tribal organization in the country. He has served as a specialist on Indian Affairs at the Department of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.