News and Announcements Archive

Legislation Introduced to Enhance Udall Foundation and Honor Stewart L. Udall


Posted: 3/31/2009

Legislation was introduced yesterday in the U.S. House and Senate that would authorize additional resources for the programs of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, a federal agency based in Tucson, while honoring Stewart L. Udall, former Secretary of the Interior.

The proposed legislation would rename the agency the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, in recognition of Stewart Udall's many contributions to environmental and Native American policy. It was introduced by Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., in the House and by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in the Senate.

"The Foundation is thrilled to have this demonstration of support in the Congress," said Terry Bracy, chair of the Foundation's Board of Trustees. "The work of our staff is obviously deemed more and more essential to the country, and more than anything, this is a tribute to them.

"To have Stewart Udall's name on our door only adds luster to the proud legacy which guides us," Bracy added.

The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American students pursuing tribal policy or health care careers. The Udall Foundation also operates a Native American Congressional Internship program each summer in Washington, D.C., placing top college, graduate and law students in Senate and House offices, the Executive Office of the President, and Cabinet agencies, where they learn firsthand how federal policies on tribal issues are developed.

In 1998, Congress amended the Udall Foundation's enabling legislation to add the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, the federal government's only program focused entirely on resolving federal environmental disputes. The U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution has played a quiet leading role to find common ground on issues as diverse as Everglades Restoration to the joint tribal-federal management of the National Bison Range Complex. The Institute's staff, which also partners with a roster of mediators nationwide, has handled important conflict resolution efforts in collaboration with many federal departments including Interior, Defense, USDA Forest Service, and Transportation.

The Udall Foundation is also a cofounder and funder of the Native Nations Institute (NNI), a graduate education and policy center for Indian Country. NNI teaches a new way of governance on the reservations that embraces tribal identity as a core principle and smart business practices as a way to assist Indian nations rebuild their economies. In the last five years, more than 2,000 Native American leaders have benefited from its courses.

The Udall Foundation was created initially to honor the legacy of the late Morris Udall, who represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Stewart Udall, who also represented Southern Arizona in Congress from 1954 to 1960, is Morris Udall's older brother. The two worked together on many environmental and Native American initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress.

Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and his accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the nation's environmental and cultural heritage. His best-selling book on environmental attitudes in the U.S., The Quiet Crisis (1963), is considered a seminal work on the environmental movement.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cosponsored the Senate bill. Cosponsors in the House were Representatives Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources; Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.; Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.; Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz.; and Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.

More information on the Foundation and the U.S. Institute can be found at www.udall.gov and www.ecr.gov.


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