Tribal Member Diana Zirul has been appointed to the new 16-member U.S. Government Accountability Office Tribal Advisory Council.
Zirul is part of the first round of appointments of Tribally-elected leaders from 13 federally-recognized Tribes across the nation. There are also appointees from a Native Hawaiian organization, a state recognized tribe and a Native entity.
She is joined on the Advisory Council by Akiak Native Community Tribal Council Member Sheila Carl and Cook Inlet Region Inc. Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Lukin. Together these appointees will tap their knowledge and experience serving Tribes and Native communities to assist the GAO in overseeing federal programs and addressing challenges facing Native Communities across the country.
“I am honored to serve on the first-ever Tribal Advisory Council to the Government Accountability Office,” said Zirul, who has served as a Kenaitze Tribal Council officer and serves in a number of leadership roles with regional and national tribal organizations.
“The Council’s first meeting was held in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. It was refreshing to meet with the GAO staff who made it abundantly clear that they wanted to engage with the Council to ensure that issues that impact the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples are heard and addressed in their reports to Congress. One of the first tasks of the TAC will be to provide input on the GAO’s strategic plan later this year.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said each of the Alaska Native women appointed to the Advisory Council will provide the Government Accountability Office with important insight on matters affecting Alaska Native people.
“The government watchdog agency provides research that is invaluable to ensuring the federal government meets its constitutional responsibilities, including upholding the federal trust obligations to Native peoples. Whether it’s reviewing health care, economic development, housing, natural resources, telecommunications or funding for federal programs and services, GAO’s findings and recommendations are important to Congress’s oversight duties,” Murkowski said.
The GAO established the Tribal Advisory Council to help inform the agency’s future work and priorities in examining federal programs that serve tribal communities and Indigenous peoples. The appointments will last two to three years.