On Saturday, August 7, the U.S. Senate confirmed Bryan Todd Newland to be the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Newland is a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community (Ojibwe), where he recently served as tribal president and also as chief judge of the Bay Mills Tribal Court. In addition, during the Obama Administration, he served as a counselor and policy advisor to Interior’s assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Michigan State University College of Law.
Assistant secretary is the department’s highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed official in Indian Affairs. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement:
“Mr. Newland has invaluable experience as a tribal leader, personal and in-depth knowledge of the issues facing tribes, expertise in complex areas of federal Indian law, an understanding of Interior’s unique role in fulfilling and enforcing the federal trust responsibility to Native peoples, and a diplomatic and respectful approach to honoring tribal sovereignty. It is clear from the record that Mr. Newland has the qualifications to succeed in this role, and to serve this country with honor as one of the chief federal advocates for American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives.”
The Assistant Secretary is responsible for maintaining the United States’ government-to-government relationship with sovereign tribal nations. Newland’s nomination received letters of support from more than 40 tribes and tribal organizations. Schatz led passage of Newland’s nomination through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs last month.