Deb Haaland becomes the first Native person ever in the history of the United States to be appointed to a cabinet position. https://t.co/KiqfPNbizi
— Rebecca Nagle (@rebeccanagle) December 17, 2020
… The Interior Department is tasked with protecting the nation’s natural resources and honoring the government’s federal trust responsibilities. It manages America’s vast public lands and coastal waters while overseeing prominent departments such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education. The agency employs 70,000 people.
Haaland’s nomination has been backed by many Indigenous leaders, advocates and allies for weeks.
More than 130 tribal leaders collaborated to write letters to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, citing Haaland’s bipartisan leadership. Native organizations including NDN Collective and IllumiNative created online campaigns, and celebrities like Mark Ruffalo have offered support via social media…
Many of Haaland’s colleagues in Congress also had rallied behind her. In mid-November, more than 50 House Democrats penned a letter to the Biden transition team backing her for the post.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined in, saying Haaland “knows the territory,” and if Biden nominated her, “he will have made an excellent choice.”…
I’ve seen Very Sensible People muttering about ‘the Democrats’ thin margin’ in the House, but for some reason, it always seems to be a woman or a Black man who’s expected to turn down a promotion for ‘the good of the party’, so my take is: Okay, so now we bust humps to put another good Democrat in Rep. Haaland’s vacated seat.
From the Washington Post, which seems to have been first with the news:
… In selecting 60 year-old Haaland, a member of Pueblo of Laguna, Biden has placed the descendant of the original people to populate North America atop a 171-year-old institution that has often had a fraught relationship with 574 federally recognized tribes.
Born in Arizona to a Native American mother who served in the Navy and a Norwegian American father who was an active-duty Marine, Haaland bounced between 13 public schools as the family moved between military bases. She worked at a bakery starting at the age of 15 and went to law school with the help of student loans and food stamps, occasionally experiencing homelessness as a single mother.
Now, after serving a single term in Congress, she will oversee a department that manages roughly one-fifth of land in the United States. While she hails from a top oil- and gas-producing state, has pledged to transform the department from a champion of fossil fuel development into a promoter of renewable energy and policies to mitigate climate change.
“I come from New Mexico. It’s a big gas and oil state. And I care about every single job,” Haaland said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. But she added: “We don’t want to go back to normal, right? We don’t want to go back to where we were because that economy wasn’t working for a lot of people.”…
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee and helped lead the campaign on behalf of Haaland, said that “any comment that she’s not qualified for the job is wrong, and a cheap shot.” By selecting Haaland, Grijalva added, Biden is helping “begin to rewrite a legacy in this country. And I think that’s good given everything else that’s going on around us.”…
The Bureau of Indian Affairs was originally in the Dept. of War.
It moved to Interior in 1849.
Since then Interior oversaw countless policy disasters—some downright horrific.
Indians have gone from the enemy, to a problem, to participating, to leading.
— Elizabeth A. Reese (Yunpovi) (@yunpovi) December 17, 2020