More than six months after being nominated by President Trump to become the new assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, Tara Maclean Sweeney faced questions from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
ASRC is congratulating Tara Sweeney for her nomination to the position of Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs (AS-IA). President Trump made the intent to nominate announcement from Washington last night. If confirmed by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sweeney would oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), among other offices, as well as manage a nearly $3 billion budget. It would be the first and only presidential nomination and U.S. Senate-confirmed position for any Alaska Native woman in the history of the state.
“I am humbled and honored to be considered for this important position,” said Tara Sweeney. “I look forward to working with this administration and Congress to strengthen the federal government’s relationship with Indian Country.”
The role of the AS-IA is to assist and support the Interior Secretary in fulfilling the United States’ trust responsibility to federally-recognized tribes as well as individual Indian trust beneficiaries.
“I’m pleased to see the federal government is recognizing what Alaskans have known for quite some time – that Tara is a tireless and effective advocate for balanced Native American policy,” said Rex A. Rock Sr., ASRC president and CEO. “All of us at ASRC wish her the very best throughout the confirmation process. We know Indian Affairs will be in good hands.”
Originally from Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Sweeney has served ASRC for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles, most recently as executive vice president of external affairs, overseeing government relations for the corporation as well as communications. She has also served on numerous business and nonprofit boards at both the state and national levels. In May of this year, Sweeney wrapped up a two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Economic Council.
In 1998, Sweeney earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.