WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior has announced key members of agency leadership who will work to advance President Biden’s agenda to tackle climate change, protect endangered wildlife, and honor relationships and trust responsibilities with Indigenous communities.
“The Interior Department is hard at work turning President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda into reality,” said Chief of Staff Lawrence Roberts. “These new team members will help serve our mission to honor the federal government’s trust responsibilities to Indian Country, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and conserve our public lands and waters for current and future generations.”
Interior’s political team proudly reflects the diversity of America, with more than 60 percent identifying as BIPOC (black, Indigenous or people of color) and 70 percent as women.
The appointees are:
- Joaquin Gallegos, Special Assistant, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs
- Wizipan Little Elk, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs
- Mike Martinez, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks
- Matthew Strickler, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Joaquin Gallegos, Special Assistant, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs
Joaquin R. Gallegos (Jicarilla Apache Nation/Pueblo of Santa Ana) recently served as a law clerk to Judge Allison H. Eid on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously, Joaquin served as a legislative staff attorney to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He has also served as a legal fellow to former Senator Tom Udall on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and as a policy fellow to former Senator Byron Dorgan at the Aspen Institute.
Wizipan Little Elk, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs
Wizipan Little Elk is a citizen of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). Most recently, he served as the CEO of the REDCO ecosystem of organizations. Wizipan’s previous experience includes serving within the Sicangu Oyate government and at the Interior Department as deputy chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. Wizipan is a hunter and writer. He lives on the homelands of the Sicangu and is married to the love of his life and together raise four children.
Mike Martinez, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Michael Martinez most recently served as a policy analyst for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, where he focused on water resources and fisheries in western Washington. He previously served for seven years as a natural resources law and policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Michael also served for over a decade in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and as a judicial law clerk at the Washington Supreme Court.
Matthew Strickler, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Matt Strickler most recently served as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources and Chief Resilience Officer to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Before those roles, Matt worked for nearly six years as a senior policy advisor and professional staff member for the House Committee on Natural Resources, and as a legislative aide in the Virginia General Assembly. Matt is from Lexington, VA.