The Obama administration has helped in one small way to ensure that American Indian tribes are included in the nation’s energy policy development by naming a Native American director to serve in the U.S. Department of Energy.
David Conrad, a citizen of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, was selected to serve as the director for tribal and intergovernmental affairs and as a senior advisor on implementation of federal Indian policy at the agency.
Conrad’s position is in the Department of Energy’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. His job is to focus on strengthening tribal participation in federal decision-making regarding national energy priorities, as well as to serve as a departmental point of contact for tribal leadership, and to oversee government-to-government relationships.
The tribal energy office Conrad will lead has long been sought by tribal leaders, who believe it should leverage the department’s resources to better promote and encourage tribal energy development.
Conrad began his career with DOE as a graduate student intern in the early 1990s in the Office of Environmental Management. He later developed and implemented tribal environmental, energy, natural and cultural resources policy and programs in the tribal, nonprofit, and local government sectors.