Biden Nominates First Native American to Lead National Parks Service


President Biden nominated Charles “Chuck” Sams III to serve as director of the National Park Service on Wednesday.

If confirmed, the former director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and current member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council would be the first Native American to direct the agency that oversees millions of acres of ancestral tribal territories and treaty lands, now national parks or monuments.

Holly Cook Macarro, Red Lake Ojibwe, said Sams’ nomination to oversee Native lands taken by “treaty violations, theft and other forms” was ironic, and “once again feels like things are coming full circle.” Representation is important, she told Indian Country Today, as now “there’s someone on the very top who understands the tribal perspective and is going to bring it to the table in a way that we haven’t seen before.”

As reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting:

Kat Brigham, who chairs the board of trustees for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, said she is excited and proud to see Sams’ nomination.

“I think it’s a great move for the White House and for him,” Brigham said. “He’s a man I think will really help represent tribal people throughout Indian country. … He knows how to live off the land and he knows the responsibility of taking good care of the land so the land can take care of you for today and future generations.

Biden announces new NPS Director nominee Chuck Sams

For a deeper dive:

Indian Country Today, Indianz, Oregon Public Broadcasting, E&E News, Axios, KTVZ, Bellingham Herald

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