My initial reaction to a Salazar appointment was "What role will this play in Indian Relations?"
The Rocky Mountain News Commenter HopiMedicineMan had this to say:
This appointment will not go down well in the Indian community. Salazar braggedPhil Doe and Ute Water Rights - True. Phil Doe is associated with the Animas-La-Plata Project, near Durango, which is a plan to dam a river whose sole water rights belong to the Ute Indians based on a treaty dating back to 1868 - for the purpose of providing water to oil shale production in that part of the state. A search of the website for the project indicates that the project is being coordinated through the Ute tribes, and that artifacts in the valley to be flooded are being preserved at the Anasazi Heritage Center in Delores, CO. The Salazar family has a history of vested interest in this project. The project is nearly complete, and was dedicated in October of this year - in attendance was Ken Salazar. Currently, the project is in support of the Ute water rights, and will provide water to the Ute tribes and the Navajo tribes. Phil Doe has tried to question the Ute's water rights, but has been turned down and the treaties upheld... could this change under Salazar?
a couple weeks ago his family was involved with the founding of Santa Fe in
1608. That means he’s associating himself with the genocidal Juan Martinez de
Montoya and Hernando Cortez. The Interior secretary is the dictator of the
reservations. And Salazar has shown he’s Mussolini in a cowboy hat, closing
77,000 acres of natural gas development. Indians want to drill on their lands.
Interior says, yeh or neh. Turning them down, as we expect from an ecomentalist,
would be seen as more genocide. It never ends. And it would have that effect,
fewer Indians going to college, fewer Chevy Silverados. Indian culture is
conservative. Salazar’s liberal pal, Phil Doe is attempting to acquire Ute water
rights in court. These rights would be used in the production of oil shale.
Liberals care about urban minorities, not Indians.
Salazar, a supporter of La Raza, seems more concerned with the blending of Mexico and the United States than preserving the cultures already existing within this land.
IndianZ.com posted the small amount of information regarding Salazar's past interaction with Indians in Colorado:
Salazar hasn't emerged as a major player on Indian issues since taking office.All signs point to the appointment of Salazar for reasons relating to Green Energy, and unrelated to Indian Affairs. In the cases where Indian Sovereignty was questioned over Environmental Issues, Salazar is against Native Sovereignty every time... making him a perfect fot for Obama's Environmental Machine, but absolutely WRONG for Department of Interior where Indian Affairs is concerned.
But he has co-sponsored legislation like the National American Indian and Alaska
Native Heritage Month Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the Sand
Creek Massacre National Historic Site Trust Act, the Code Talkers bill and bills
to extend methamphetamine funding to tribes...
Salazar recently questioned the $2.5 billion coal power plant sought by
the Navajo Nation, citing concerns about the impact on the environment in
Colorado and New Mexico.
Though Obama has appointed a Rosebud Sioux to head his First Americans Public Liaison transition post, it appears that Indian Affairs is at the bottom of his list of priorities - and a Ken Salazar appointment is evident to that fact.
update - the following letter was sent to Sen Salazar this afternoon. I will add any response:
Dear Sen. Salazar, and future Sec. of Interior -
I am a local political activist, blogger, and Indian Affairs activist. Let me start by congratulating you on your new post with the Obama administration, and directing a question regarding your new post.
In December 2007, Russell Means and a group of Lakotah Sioux, in their continued struggle to reclaim land promised to them through the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties, declared an intent to withdraw from said treaties. There was no official response from the Bush Administration - which is representative of the largely failed policies towards the Sioux. As the Secretary of the Interior, your position will oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and will require attention to the situation on the Sioux reservations.
My question is this: What is your stance on Russell Means' declaration for a free and sovereign Laktoah Nation on the lands promised in the Laramie Treaties, and what is your position on the century old land battle over the Black Hills and other territories promised in the above noted treaties? As well, are you willing to support investment in Green Energy production in wind corridors on lands belonging to the Sioux, and under what liberties do you feel the Sioux should build/operate/and distribute this energy?
I appreciate your feedback on these issues. It is important to establish and continue comprehensive and constructive dialogue, and I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss these issues with you in the future.
Steven M Nielson
Secretary, Douglas County Republican Party
Grassroots Activist for Indian Affairs