Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior is the most important federal agency in the West, with a multifaceted portfolio of responsibilities that today includes energy development both on- and off-shore, the national parks, American Indian tribes, many of the West’s major water projects, American territories overseas, and species protection throughout the nation. The Center of the American West has undertaken to tell this diverse department’s story through a series of interviews with former Secretaries of the Interior and a book examining Interior’s role in the West through two centuries.


  • Don Hodel

    Don Hodel
    Served as Under Secretary then Secretary of the Interior (1985-1989) under President Ronald Reagan
    January 19, 2006

  • Gale Norton

    Gale Norton
    Served as Secretary for five years (2001-2006) under President George
    W. Bush
    November 23, 2004

  • Bruce Babbitt

    Bruce Babbitt
    Served as Secretary for eight years (1993-2000) under President Bill Clinton
    April 20, 2004

  • Manuel Lujan

    Manuel Lujan
    Served as Secretary for four years (1989-1993) under President George
    H. W. Bush
    March 17, 2004

  • James Watt

    James Watt
    Served as Secretary for three years (1981-1983) under President Ronald Reagan
    February 11, 2004

  • John C. Whitaker

    John C. Whitaker
    Served on the Nixon White House staff (1969-1972) and as Under Secretary of the Interior (1973-1975)
    November 19, 2003

  • Walter J. Hickel

    Walter J. Hickel
    Served for two years (1969-1970) under President Richard Nixon
    October 15, 2003

  • Stewart Lee Udall

    Stewart Lee Udall
    Served as Secretary for eight years (1961-1969) under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
    September 24, 2003