May 17, 2021

Biden Administration Resumes White House Council on Native American Affairs

On April 23, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice will convene the first White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) meeting of the Biden-Harris administration. Secretary Haaland will serve as the Council’s Chair.

“The White House Council on Native American Affairs represents an important commitment to strengthen Tribal sovereignty, uphold our commitment to Tribal Nations, and honor the United States’ nation-to-nation relationships,” said Secretary Haaland. “Addressing the systemic inequities that impact Indigenous peoples is the responsibility of every federal agency that will require an all-of-government approach across the Administration.”

“The White House Council on Native American Affairs will maximize federal efforts to support Tribal Nations as they tackle pressing issues, such as COVID-19 response, reopening schools and rebuilding Tribal economic development,” said Ambassador Rice. “This inter-agency Council reinforces the Administration’s support for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance and will help to fulfill the federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations.”

The WHCNAA is an interagency Principals-level council that includes leaders from across the federal government. It was established by executive order in June 2013 in response to requests from leaders across Indian Country. It has not met regularly since 2016.

The convening of the WCHNAA comes as the Biden-Harris administration has prioritized getting resources out to Tribal communities to address the impacts of the Administration’s core policy pillars – climate change, racial equity, economic recovery, and COVID-19 response – through the American Rescue Plan and American Jobs Plan.

The WCHNAA will also ensure that every federal department and agency is engaging in robust Tribal consultations as directed in President Biden’s Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships.