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Rep. Leger Fernández takes on major position

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New chair of Indigenous Peoples’ subcommittee

WASHINGTON, D. C. — Congress­woman Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M.-3, announced Feb. 17 that she will serve as Chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States for the 117th Congress. The Subcommittee works to empower Tribal communities, protect Tribal sovereignty, and enhance Tribal authority over their lands and natural resources.

“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,” she said.

“We must build on Chairman [Raúl] Grijalva and former Subcommittee Chair Congressman [Ruben] Gallego’s work to promote economic development and improve access to quality health care, broadband, education, child care and much more,” she said.

Congresswoman Leger 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 litigating environmental and Section 106 claims.

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