President Joe Biden has selected former Bay Mills Indian Community Chairman Bryan Newland as Assistant Secretary of the Interior–Indian Affairs. The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Newland’s nomination. In February, Biden appointed Newland to serve as principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs to become familiar with his new position.
Newland was accompanying First Lady Jill Biden on a tour of the Navajo Nation when the announcement was made. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said, “We congratulate Mr. Newland on his nomination, and we are pleased to welcome him and First Lady Biden to the Navajo Nation. With his extensive experience and knowledge, we are optimistic that he will work together with all tribes and partner with the Navajo Nation to advance new policies and policy changes that benefit our people and communities. We have a great working relationship with Secretary Haaland and we are happy to extend our welcome to Mr. Newland and we look forward to meeting with him on many issues. Congratulations to him and his family.”
National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp commented, “Indian Country is poised for investment and new opportunities for economic growth and the time is right for new leadership. We are ready to engage in initiatives that create a sustainable, inclusive and strategic agenda for Indian Country. With Bryan Newland as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, along with the first Native American secretary of interior, we will have that critical voice for our traditional cultures, our tribal economies and the healing of our broken relationship with the federal government.”
The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians issued a statement noting, “ATNI is grateful to the Biden/Harris administration for the appointment of the Bryan Newland to this important post within the Department of the Interior that is so crucial to the trust relationship with the nation’s Indian tribes. As a former tribal leader and public servant , Mr. Newland knows the diverse needs and characteristics of the first people and how the federal government can best address them. We look forward to working with him and Secretary Haaland on making real progress on the actions needed to truly honor the promises made by the U.S. to our ancestral leaders.”
Matthew Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, said, “The president could not have selected a more deserving and experienced Native American to serve Indian Country. Bryan has shown, through his strong leadership, that he is more than capable to represent Indian Country in D.C. Bryan has done a tremendous job leading his community on both a national and state level. While being a young leader he has represented himself on behalf of Indian Country as a knowledgeable, skilled veteran of the protection of Native sovereignty. We look forward to his continued leadership.”
Bob Peters, chairman of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe), added, “As a recent colleague of mine being a fellow tribal leader here in Michigan, I am both proud of Bryan for his appointment to this prestigious position, and also optimistic that he can make a real difference in the lives of Indian people throughout the United States.”
And Timothy J. Davis, chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, stated, “We’re excited that someone from our region is on a national platform for us. Like with Deb Haaland’s appointment, bringing Native Americans forward in the administration to deal with environmental and native issues on a federal level is such an honor and well founded by the Biden administration. It shows a true spirit of sovereignty within our treaties.”