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Sat Aug 21, 2021, 12:34 PM

The many reasons you should care about President Biden's nominee to head our national parks

Shamefully, the National Park Service has never before been led by an enrolled tribal member. As announced on Wednesday, President Joe Biden is working to change that. The White House has tapped Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III, a member of the Cayuse, Walla Walla, Cocopah, and Yankton Sioux tribal nations who lives on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation with his family, to be the next director of the Park Service, as reported by Axios, potentially making him the first Native American to head the National Parks Service. The next step is for him to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As Daily Kos covered at the time, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland currently serves as the first Indigenous Cabinet member; if Sams is confirmed, it would be extremely cool and meaningful to see the two work together.

What does the job entail? It perhaps goes without saying that Sams would manage the national park system. This includes overseeing more than 400 separate areas in every state, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Washington, D.C. This includes more than 60 national parks, monuments, battlefields, and other historical sites. Excitingly, Sams would also have the means to make some pretty big money decisions related to the parks. Let’s check out some background on Sams, and this awesome increase in budget, below.


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