Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is slated to become the new Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Pending Senate approval, she will be the first female leader in the Committee’s history.Cantwell has been a member of the Committee since her first year in the Senate in 2001.
Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon welcomed the announcement. "We are so proud of the senator," Sheldon said. "Maria has been a supporter of ours since her legislative service in Olympia. She has continued that at the federal level." Stillaguamish Tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity echoed his support. "Maria has a long history of knowing the issues, what the tribes face and who the tribes are," Yanity said. "She has the familiarity with issues such as natural resources, violence against women and many more. We will be leaning a bit more on her to stand stronger on tribal issues. It's really good to have her in that position."
Cantwell said she will be honored to lead the Committee as its first female Chair. "I am proud of my work with our state Tribes on issues such as education, health care and the environment, including salmon restoration," Cantwell said. "In our state, the way we work together with the Tribes is very relational, but I think that can translate to work with all of the Tribal nations in our country."