Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III was ceremonially sworn in as the 19th director of the National Park Service on Dec. 16, 2021, by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Sams is Cayuse and Walla Walla and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Northeast Oregon, where he grew up. He also has blood ties to the Cocopah Tribe and Yankton Sioux of Fort Peck.
Sams most recently served as Oregon Governor Kate Brown's appointee to the Pacific Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NW Council) where he held a position as a council member from March to December of 2021. Prior to joining the NW Council, he served as executive director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
For more than 25 years, Sams has worked in tribal and state government, and in the non-profit natural resource and conservation management field, with an emphasis on the responsibility of strong stewardship for land preservation for this and future generations.
Sams is a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served as an intelligence specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Concordia University and a Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma School of Law. He lives with his wife, Lori Lynn (Reinecke) Sams and their youngest daughter in Alexandria, VA.