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Capital Briefs | Senate committee supports Tso as IHS director

WASHINGTON

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on July 13 voted to confirm Roselyn Tso, a member of the Navajo Nation, to serve as director of the Indian Health Service.

Tso, currently director of the Navajo Area IHS, was nominated by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

Her appointment now awaits approval from the full Senate.

Tso began her career with the IHS in 1984. She previously served in different roles in the Portland Area.

Tso holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, also in Portland.

The IHS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides health care to 2.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

In 37 states, there are more than 605 IHS hospitals, clinics, and health stations located on or near tribal communities.

The IHS director oversees the agency, including a total budget of $7.4 billion and more than 15,000 workers.

End of Light Up Navajo III marked

WINDOW ROCK – On Thursday, Navajo Nation Council and Navajo Tribal Utility Authority officials marked the successful end of the Light Up Navajo III initiative that began in the spring and connected more than 137 Navajo homes with electricity.

The nine-week project sent crews to help connect rural homes to the electric grid – giving them power for the first time.

The American Public Power Association helped organize the crews, which included 14 utility teams from 10 states.

The crew that traveled from Greenville, N.C., was the last to leave the Navajo Nation this week. Working in the Shonto and Navajo Mountain areas, they worked on the home of a 97-year-old woman.

When the crews connected electricity to her two-room home, she expressed gratitude and shed tears as each lineman shook her hand and hugged her before departing.

Speaker Seth Damon said, “Turning on a light bulb or the television for the first time in your home is a privilege for many in the Navajo Nation. We are working to ensure every Navajo family has electricity and access to broadband internet.”

Haaland breaks leg on hike

ALBUQUERQUE – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s weekend hike through Shenandoah National Park did not go quite as planned.

The department issued a statement late Monday confirming that Haaland suffered a break to her left fibula during a Sunday hike through the park near Washington, D.C.

She was assisted by park staff and the U.S. Park Police and treated at nearby Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She returned to work “virtually” Monday afternoon, according to a news release.

An avid outdoors person and runner, she frequently posts of hikes through public lands during her trips as secretary. She also ran the Boston Marathon last year.

Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo and a former U.S. congresswoman from New Mexico.

White House holds 3rd tribal session

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the White House Council on Native American Affairs convened its third session with tribal and Native Hawaiian community leaders.

The meeting focused on tribal homelands initiatives including co-stewardship, protection of sacred sites and treaty rights, and creating a more efficient land into trust process.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who co-chairs the council with White House Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, led the discussion.

Monday’s session also discussed the unique impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities, implementation of the Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge memo, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s new Indigenous knowledge website.


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