Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
The Senate voted 51-40 Monday to confirm the Democratic congresswoman to lead the Interior Department, an agency that will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s ambitious efforts to combat climate change and conserve nature.
Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Interior Department was used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples. In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the department is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes.
“Indian country has shouted from the valleys, from the mountaintops, that it’s time. It’s overdue,” Sandia Pueblo tribal member Stephine Poston told NPR after Haaland was nominated.
It’s not the first time Haaland has made history. In 2018, she became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Her nomination by President Biden to lead the Interior Department was celebrated by tribal groups, environmental organizations, and lawmakers who called the action long overdue.
news as report by NPR