MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Bush administration plans to nominate Dave Anderson, founder of the Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant chain, as assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs.
From that position, Anderson would oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs and promote self-determination for the nation's 1.4 million American Indians.
Anderson, 50, of Edina, is a member of the Chippewa and Choctaw tribes and an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwa in Wisconsin.
He opened his first Famous Dave's Barbeque in Hayward, Wis., in 1994 and has led its growth into a publicly traded chain of 87 restaurants in 23 states.
In a news release Friday, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said Anderson's "inspiring leadership, management expertise and compassion for Indian issues will help us improve our ability to support tribal government."
The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation once President Bush officially nominates him. If Anderson is approved, he would step down as chairman of Famous Dave's of America Inc. and the position would remain vacant, the company said.
At the Interior Department, Anderson would have responsibility for its trust obligations on behalf of the 562 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. As head of the BIA, he would oversee an agency with 10,500 employees.
"I am deeply honored at the prospect of being nominated as assistant secretary of the interior, Indian affairs. I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs," Anderson said in a statement.
Vernon Bellecourt, director of international relations for the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement, said Anderson "seems to be quite capable."
"Obviously, Dave Anderson is a very successful entrepreneur," he said. "If he can utilize those skills to assist individual Indian people and companies in the area of economic development, certainly he has a lot to offer."
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