U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández of New Mexico speaking about the national COVID-19 Relief Plan on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as televised on C-SPAN. Screenshot/LADP
From the Office of U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03) announced Wednesday that she will serve as chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States for the 117 Congress.
The Subcommittee works to empower Tribal communities, protect Tribal sovereignty, and enhance Tribal authority over their lands and natural resources.
“I am honored that Chairman Grijalva and my colleagues entrusted me to serve as chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. I thank them for their support and look forward to working closely with them,” Rep. Fernández said.
“In the last year, the pandemic’s disastrous impact on Native American communities made our country aware of something that my district has known for too long – the United States has failed to meet its trust responsibilities to Native Americans, and the consequences are deadly and heartbreaking. We can and must do better.
“In New Mexico, we have a deep respect for our history and our 23 federally recognized Tribes who have shared with me their wisdom, challenges and vision during my three decades of work with them. I look forward to putting this experience to work for all of the Indigenous peoples of the United States. We must build on Chairman Grijalva and former Subcommittee Chair Congressman Gallego’s work to promote economic development and improve access to quality health care, broadband, education, child care and much more.”
U.S. Rep. Fernández’s experience as a former attorney and advocate for Tribal nations on key issues including Tribal sovereignty, self-determination, cultural protections, and voting rights will bring an important perspective to the Subcommittee. Her career included work to negotiate one of the first IHS-Tribal joint venture agreements for building health clinics; to secure financing of approximately a billion dollars for infrastructure, broadband, and business and governmental buildings; and successfully litigated environmental and Section 106 claims.