OI’s Facebook Team Honors Deb Haaland
We are surprised and delighted by this cabinet choice. We never thought in our lifetime a Native American would become head of the Department of the Interior (a woman, no less). We celebrate the path the proposed Secretary of the Interior has taken. Before attending law school, she struggled with near homelessness, yet went on to become a lawyer, an elected Member of Congress from New Mexico, and an environmentalist.
We congratulate Congresswoman Haaland or her past and future successes.
Secretary of the Interior
Great Falls Tribune Story
Western Native Voice, a Montana nonprofit that aims to inspire Native leadership, released a statement signaling the weight of Biden's nomination:
"It’s come full circle, to having large amounts of our ancestral lands taken away from us and not having a voice in its stewardship, and now to have Rep. Deb Haaland, an Indigenous woman nominated and charged with the responsibility for the management and conservation for most federal lands and natural resources of the United States...It’s going to take a while to let that sink in."
Member of Congress
About Representative Haaland
After a lifetime of organizing communities to stand up for New Mexico families, Congresswoman Deb Haaland was elected as one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. She will serve in leadership roles as the 116th Congress Freshman Class Representative to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, House Democratic Region VI Whip (Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona) and Deputy Whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Link to the Washington Post Article
While the picks represent a concession to progressives in Biden’s party, who publicly campaigned for an American Indian at the helm of Interior, they were also chosen to personify Biden’s plans to address the long-standing burdens low-income and minority communities have shouldered when it comes to dirty air and water. All three nominees will play a central role in realizing his promises to combat climate change, embrace green energy and address environmental racism.
“We have individuals coming to these positions who have seen what it’s like on the other side, in terms of communities that have suffered,” environmental justice pioneer Bob Bullard said in an interview Thursday. “They have been fighting for justice. Now they are in a position to make change and make policy. That, to me, has the potential to be transformative.”
Link to article from CS Monitor
Why We Wrote This (By Henry Gass)
A dedication to protecting the land has been a hallmark of Native American leaders – but so also have bipartisanship and pragmatism. Whichever party is in power, tribes have had to work with them. In an era of deeply divided government, those tools are needed.
Of the People
Link to Article from Roll Call
“I’m always gonna fight for folks,” Haaland says. “I think it’s any government’s obligation to make the lives of people better. That’s why we pay our taxes. We want good roads, we want solid bridges. We want nice playgrounds for kids to play in. We want safe communities. We don’t want our neighbors to go hungry. I know what a nice neighborhood is like, and I want people to be able to find success.”