WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Committee, released statements on Patrice Kunesh’s confirmation as the Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Native Americans (ANA). The ANA was established to promote self-sufficiency and cultural preservation for Native Americans through training, technical assistance, and grant funding for economic development, cultural revitalization, and environmental protection.
“Ms. Kunesh’s previous federal service at the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, extensive experience in Indian Affairs, and demonstrated leadership for Native communities across the country make clear that she has what it takes to succeed in her new role as Commissioner,” said Chairman Schatz. “I look forward to our work together to support American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”
“Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Patrice H. Kunesh to be the Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “When Ms. Kunesh was nominated last Congress, I had the opportunity to meet with her and discuss her vision and goals for ANA. She is committed to doing her upmost to help American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. And with her broad experience serving Indian country, she is prepared to lead the agency. I look forward to working with Ms. Kunesh as she assumes her new role.”
The ANA Commissioner is one of the most senior, Senate-confirmed, federal officials in Native policy at HHS. In addition to managing ANA programs, the Commissioner advises the HHS Secretary on matters relating to Indian Affairs.