2022 Native Language Summit: Secretary Haaland Highlights Commitments to Tribal Nations

Secretary of the Interior Deb HaalandSecretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Submitted Image)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 29, 2022, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland hosted the second meeting of her Cabinet colleagues with Tribal leaders as part of the White House Tribal Nations Summit. The summit, which is intended to be held three times a year, provides an opportunity for Tribal leaders to share their work with the administration and to voice their concerns and questions. During the meeting, Haaland updated her colleagues on the progress of the WHCNAA and solicited feedback from the Tribal leaders present. She also announced that the next summit will be held in October. Overall, the meeting was said to be a productive step forward in the relationship between the administration and Tribal communities.

President Biden and his administration are taking major steps to protect, preserve and promote Native languages. In the meeting led by Secretary Haaland, who also serves as co-chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, Tribal leaders discussed how best to achieve these goals. Also in attendance were senior administration officials from the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, and White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. All participants agreed that Native languages are a vital part of our nation’s heritage and that every effort should be made to ensure their continued existence. The meeting was productive and resulted in a number of concrete plans for how the administration will work with Tribes to achieve these objectives. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, our country’s rich history of Native languages will be preserved for future generations.

The leaders of the Interior Department met with the Klamath Tribal Council in order to listen to their concerns. They also met with the Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Tribes, which are located along the Klamath River. In addition, they met with water users in order to gather information from them. The Interior Department team was very receptive to the input that they received from all of these different groups. They noted that the meetings were constructive and that they will take all of the information that they received into consideration when making decisions about the Klamath River.

Last week’s engagement session focused on implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order 14049, which created the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, chaired by Secretary Haaland, Secretary Cardona, and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The Initiative seeks to advance equity, excellence and economic opportunity for Native people through a variety of policy goals. It mandates that agencies consult with Tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and state, Tribal and local educational departments. The goal of the Initiative is to help close the education gap between American Indian and Alaska Native students and the general student population. In addition, the Initiative will work to improve access to quality education opportunities for all American Indian and Alaska Native students.

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