Ken Lair teaches a group of student volunteers about conservation. (Photo courtesy Jackie Lindgren)
At 6’6”, Ken Lair is a gentle giant of conservation. Shaking off injuries and setbacks that would have stopped a lesser man, Lair volunteers his expertise to lead several projects for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Lair, who holds a doctorate in restoration ecology, spent the majority of his federal career with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and NRCS. After retiring, Lair continued to work with NRCS in California as a consultant. Read more »
Attendees at the South Dakota Tribal Entrepreneurship Fair: left to right Rural Development Specialist Sherrie Lewis, Flo Hare - EDA Director for Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Rural Development Area Director Trace Davids. USDA photo.
Thirty-five participants, consisting of native entrepreneurs and organizations that provide services to entrepreneurs attended the first ever Entrepreneur Fair (E-Fair) held in Pickstown, South Dakota earlier this month.
The E-Fair was co-hosted by the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA) and Yankton Sioux Economic Development Department (YSEDD); providing time and resources into making the day a reality. The purpose of the fair was to encourage, support, educate, and provide networking opportunities for the native entrepreneurs of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Read more »
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employee Bahe Rock gives the blessing at USDA's Native American Heritage Month Observance in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA South Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.
I was honored last week to participate in the annual Native American Heritage Month observance at USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium. A near-capacity crowd watched as the Vietnam Era Veterans Intertribal Association presented the colors. That gesture was especially fitting, given this year’s theme of “Serving with Honor, Pride and Devotion: Country, Land and People.”
Following the blessing, given by Bahe Rock of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources Arthur “Butch” Blazer, a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, read a letter of support on behalf of Secretary Vilsack and noted that “When President Obama issued a proclamation designating November as Native American Heritage Month, it made me proud to be an American and a Native American.” He spoke of the continuing efforts of the Secretary to promote diversity in hiring at USDA. Read more »
Every summer Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian college students from across the nation come to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as participants in the program Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS); I am one of them. For some of us, interning at APHIS is the first time we have ever lived off our tribal lands. For others, coming to Washington, D.C. is but another experience living in a big city. All of us, however, are linked in some way to the tribal communities we represent: the Omaha, Chippewa, Mohawk, Lumbee, Quechan, Laguna and Isleta nations.
WINS interns contribute more than just our skills and time; we add our voices. We speak as individuals from communities that are often underrepresented in government settings. We come to APHIS from states such as California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and carry with us the unique perspectives of peoples from distant lands. Our respective cultures and histories, stories and languages are irrevocably parts of who we are and contribute to the way we view the world. WINS interns help bridge the gap between Washington’s governmental agencies and the people for whom they work. In the “People’s Department,” this bridge is priceless. Read more »