The Obama Legacy and Native American Affairs

Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has completed her exit memo, touting the accomplishments of her department during the Obama years.  Jewell does not cover everything, but the memo does reveal that government can do important work in Indian affairs, and that it can be a force for good in Indian Country.  I cannot say for sure how many of the men and women staffing the new Trump administration will share that view. In any event, you can read Secretary Jewell’s memo here.   Jewell clearly is most proud of the land buyback program funded as part of the Cobell settlement.  If you have students–or are a student–casting about for a term paper topic, an assessment of the program could be a valuable project.  Check out the 2016 Status report for the Land Buy Back program here.  The Interior Department website will provide you with additional information.  And although President-elect Trump has said nothing about Native American affairs since his election, journalist Mark Trahant does a nice job of setting out a policy agenda upon which–one hopes–rational public servants might agree.

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