Deb Haaland Confirmed As First Native American Woman Cabinet Member

National Indian Gaming Association Member Tribes

Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman
Jason Giles, Executive Director
Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Director/General Counsel

Deb Haaland Confirmed As First Native American Woman Cabinet Member
March 15th, 2021

Today, the Senate voted to confirm the honorable Representative Debra Haaland to be the Secretary of Interior under President Joe Biden.

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 today’s confirmation 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. 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.

National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “This is a historic confirmation, not just for Indian Country, but for all of America. Secretary Haaland will oversee federal Indian policy, as well as all of the aspects of our country’s natural resources and historical places. The very essence of Native America is now overseen and cared for by one of our own. We look forward to supporting Secretary Haaland in her new role and strengthening our Government to Government relationship.”

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.

The National Indian Gaming Association celebrates all the hard work of Rep. Haaland and thanks to her for the tireless work she has done for Indian Country. We look forward to working with her as the new Secretary of Interior and are excited to see how she will guide the Department towards bettering lives for all Native people. Please contact Danielle Her Many Horses at with any questions or concerns with this alert.