By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Last month, it was reported that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be leaving his position in March. That leaves an opening for a job that oversees two entities that are of great importance to this part of western North Carolina – the National Park Service and American Indian tribes.
President Obama announced on Wednesday, Feb. 6 that he is nominating Sally Jewell for the position. “She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between good conservation and good jobs.”
And, it seems Indian Country is eager to begin building a relationship with Jewell.
USET president Brian Patterson said in a statement on Thursday, Feb. 7 that his organization supports Jewell’s confirmation as Interior Secretary. “Indian Tribes have much to offer regarding the deeper mysteries and wonder of this continent many of us call ‘Turtle Island’. Ms. Jewell’s experience and background indicate that in a variety of ways she has this sense of wonder and sincerely seeks to understand these mysteries.”
NCAI president Jefferson Keel also urged the Senate to confirm Jewell. “Sally Jewell’s diverse experience in energy, conservation, and stewardship efforts, presents an exciting opportunity for the country and tribal nations to make great strides and continue the transformation of the Department of the Interior under this President.”
It also appears that environmental groups are happy with the selection.
“Whether it’s been through her work to get more kids outside or her accomplishments in building a business that recognizes the passion Americans have to explore the outdoors, Sally Jewell has demonstrated that she knows just how important our wild places are to our national legacy and our economy,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement on Feb. 6. “There are few more outspoken or dedicated champions in the effort to connect children with nature than Sally Jewel, who has provided critical support to the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program and played an integral role in founding the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.”
Mike Daulton, vice president of government relations for the Audubon Society, said in a statement on Feb. 6, “Audubon welcomes Sally Jewell’s leadership to the top job in America dedicated to preserving our great national heritage. Sally Jewell received Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award for good reason: She is a dedicated conservationist and a strong leader who understands that protecting our natural world goes hand in hand with a strong American economy.”
Jewell, the CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc., is on the board of directors of various groups including The National Parks Second Century Commission and the National Parks Conservation Association.