Meet Tara Sweeney
Growing up in rural Alaska, Tara ‘Katuk’ MacLean Sweeney learned the value of public service at an early age. As a child, her parents were schoolteachers and her mother later went on to serve in the Alaska State Legislature.
Sweeney was raised and attended schools in villages from Noorvik, Wainwright and Barrow to Bethel and Unalakleet. She graduated from Barrow High School and then from Cornell University.
Her career spans from small business owner to corporate leadership at Alaska’s largest privately-owned company, roles at the highest levels in both the state and federal governments, co-chair at the Alaska Federation of Natives and the international chairmanship at the Arctic Economic Council.
Sweeney served her Alaska Native regional corporation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), and its subsidiaries in a variety of capacities for nearly two decades. She developed and implemented strategic initiatives related to energy development, taxation, broadband deployment, access to capital, and industrial and government services.
Sweeney is skilled at navigating legislative and regulatory issues to advance Alaska’s interests and was a leading advocate in executive outreach that led to the opening of ANWR to responsible resource development.
In 2018, President Trump nominated her to serve as the 13th Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Tara Sweeney was the first Alaska Native to serve the federal government in that capacity.
She led the effort to implement Operation Lady Justice – a task force established by President Trump to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans.
With the support of the White House, she guided the creation of the National Tribal Broadband Strategy aimed at addressing the challenges of broadband deployment in the nation’s most remote regions. She has also had the honor to engage in the highest levels of international business diplomacy through her international chairmanship of the Arctic Economic Council.
In 2014, Sweeney served as co-chair for Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) successful Senate campaign. She also served as the late Congressman Don Young’s campaign co-chair in 2021-2022.
She is a board member of the Ted Stevens Foundation, First National Bank of Alaska, and currently serves as the chair for Seven Glaciers. Sweeney has also served on numerous business and nonprofit boards at both the state and national level.
Sweeney is a tribal member of the Native Village of Barrow and the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, and a shareholder of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. She is a lifetime member of the National Congress of American Indians.