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McCollum Statement on Leadership of the Congressional Native American Caucus

December 19, 2018
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL, MN-04), Lead Democrat of the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, and current Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus, released the following statement regarding the future leadership of the Caucus:

"Last month, the American people elected the most diverse and representative Congress in the history of our nation. Our Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress will include a record number of women and people of color, including the first two Native American women ever to serve in Congress. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Congresswomen-elect Deb Haaland (NM-01; Pueblo of Laguna) and Sharice Davids (KS-03;  Ho-Chunk Nation). These extraordinary women will bring their experience and leadership to bear for the good of their constituents, tribal nations, and our nation as a whole. For the first time in the 230 years of the United States Congress, Native American women will finally have voices and votes in our federal legislature. 

"For the past six years, I have been privileged to serve as the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus.  I am honored by the trust that tribal leaders throughout the nation have placed with me as we have worked together to meet the needs of Indian Country and to fulfill our federal trust and treaty obligations to their sovereign nations. With great respect and appreciation for that trust, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election to lead the Caucus in the 116th Congress.  I invite my fellow Democratic members of the Native American Caucus to join me in enthusiastically supporting our Native American sisters as they seek to lead the Caucus into a new era.

"My work in support of the Native American Caucus will continue even as I step down from the Caucus leadership, and I look forward to working with the new Democratic Co-Chair and Republican Co-Chair Tom Cole (OK-04; Chickasaw Nation) to improve our government-to-government relationship with tribal nations.”

"I extend my deep and lasting gratitude to my good friend, Native American Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Betty McCollum, for her steadfast and effective leadership in advocating for Indian Country,” said Rep.-elect Haaland. “Betty's unwavering commitment to Indian Country has been remarkable and has helped move the federal government forward in meeting its trust obligations to all native peoples. Betty has protected millions of dollars in critical federal funding for tribes, and she has fought hard to improve the health, safety, and welfare of our people. I look forward to continuing that work with Rep. McCollum and Rep.- Elect Sharice Davids in future Congresses. I am proud to have her blessing and will work hard to continue in her footsteps."

"Congresswoman McCollum has been a leader on Native American issues and a friend to our community for years. I want to thank her for her dedication, her collaboration with tribal leaders and Native communities, and all she's done to stand up for the issues that are important to Indian Country. I look forward to working with her in the new Congress to build on the progress she's made." said Rep.-elect Davids.

“I am tremendously grateful for Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s leadership on behalf of Indian Country,” said Congressman Cole. “Over the last several years, I have been fortunate to serve alongside her as co-chair of the Native American Caucus, and I am proud of all that we achieved together for tribal nations. In the days ahead, I look forward to continuing to work with her to further advance the conversation on issues of great importance to tribes. Indeed, her contributions remain vital to the cause.”