Okay, no I never met the new Secretary of the Interior. But as I was trying to track down confirmation for the rumor I heard that he was going to be heading to Alaska soon, and saw a pic of him in his hat, I had the lightbulb ding.
When Celtic Diva and I were in Denver, Salazar was everywhere. I remember THAT. But he first caught my attention when he did what I thought was a very respectful and poignant welcome for the convention week by honoring First Americans. The pic is of the "official" welcome for the convention, just after a parade led by these Native dignitaries of the area. My post of the day remarked on this cowboy and Indian presentation: The senator reminded the audience that Native Americans have been at the forefront of America for centuries, including more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Yes, that's me quoting myself.) I had remarked at the time that it was pretty cool Native culture was being honored so prominently - the Native American touches were quite noticeable in Denver the whole time - but this opening was the most traditional, and Salazar's words the most respectful. For those that don't know the Sec. of the Interior oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs - how this guy has treated Native people/culture/issues in the past is of great importance! Although I'm sure Salazar's main reason for trekking up to the Great North is oil-based, I'm sure he will be finding time (read: he BETTER find time! :) ) to look into the BIA activities up here, and Native issues in general.
Mystery solved. All I had to do was read my own blog!
Wierdly enough, it was the UK Guardian that I finally found confirmation that Salazar would (soon?) be heading to Alaska:
He promised to hold four regional meetings - in Alaska, near the Gulf, along the west coast and the east coast - to gather opinions from governors, environmentalists and energy industry experts.
While I was hunting, however, I came across several interesting articles regarding Native issues and/or Alaska. My brain was fried today from work (actually, a coworker!) so my contributions are meager, you can check out some of the very exciting happenings in Native issues lately!
Bit from an older Alaska Dispatch article about Mark Begich being a "breath of fresh air." Although kinnd of an article about conservation and environment, the Alaska Native implications are pretty clear in the contrast of Stevens and Begich.
A Huffington Post story that humanizes some subsistence and oil issues - by Ricki Ott.
New York Times article about remembering the Indian nations. From the National Congress of American Indians President''s state of Indian nations address:
“When the President says that Indian nations are a priority for his new Administration, I take him at his word,” Mr. Garcia said. “With all my heart, I believe this is the true and right thing to do. I hope that, as the President says, the waiting is over, because Indians have been waiting a long, long time for the government’s actions to meet our own.”