WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lillian Sparks (Oglala Lakota), executive director of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) has been nominated by President Obama to serve as the Commissioner of Administration for Native Americans, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
She gave a brief testimony last Friday, accompanied by Rosebud Sioux President, Rodney Bordeaux.
President Obama has been attentive to Native American issues, which was why Sparks was asked to serve for tribal communities.
In her capacity as NIEA's executive director, she has brought national attention to education issues concerning American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians for almost six years.
This appointment will not only address education, but economic and infrastructure development, early childhood education, language preservation, and the principals of tribal self-determination, tribal consultation, and tribal inclusion.
She told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, "I look forward to working with the members of this Committee to provide essential services to Native American communities across the country." The committee was very enthusiastic about her nomination.
This position serves the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities within the HHS. The position has been vacant for over a year, and was last served by Quanah Crossland Stamps (Cherokee).
Sparks will continue her current duties as NIEA director and will host their Legislative Summit on Feb. 8-10 in Washington, D.C.