On December 17, 2020, then President-elect Biden made a historic choice for his Secretary of Interior by selecting Representative Debra Haaland (NM-01, Laguna Pueblo Citizen) to become the first Native American to lead that agency.
To say this nomination is a historic moment in Indian Country would be an understatement – not only is Rep. Haaland the first Native American nominated to a presidential cabinet position but, if confirmed, Rep. Haaland would be the head of the most critical Federal Agency that has shaped Indian policy for decades. Because of this, we strongly urge all of our Member Tribes to write their Senators in support of her confirmation, and call for a speedy confirmation process.
Rep. Haaland has worked hard to be a fierce advocate for Indian Country and has been an advocate and trailblazer during her career in public office. She serves in key leadership positions in Congress, including serving as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources (HNR) and the Chair of the HNR Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. She is also Co-chair of the Native American Caucus and was elected the Freshman Class Representative to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
The Department of Interior has a unique treaty and fiduciary obligation to tribal nations, and it is critical that its leadership and employees reflect the communities it serves. It is time that one of our own from Indian Country is at the head of the Department of Interior, and as the stewards of this land from time immemorial, we are more than confident that she will lead the Department into a future that protects our land and treaty rights as Native peoples.
We have included a template letter below for your Tribe to write to your Senators, calling for a speedy confirmation process for Rep. Haaland. We also urge you to contact the leadership of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the committee of jurisdiction that will oversee her confirmation, to urge that her confirmation hearing be scheduled promptly. Please contact Danielle Her Many Horses at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns with this alert.