Washington, DC — President-elect Joe Biden has officially appointed New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior. This makes Haaland, a member of the Pueblo Laguna tribe, the first Indigenous person to serve in a presidential Cabinet ever. Haaland brings her experience as chairperson of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands to this role. The Secretary of the Interior stewards public lands, national parks, endangered species habitats, and oil and gas drilling sites, and houses the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.
350.org Associate Director of Policy Natalie Mebane gave the following response:
“An Indigenous-led, nationwide movement came together to urge Biden to appoint Deb Haaland, and he listened. Haaland is an experienced leader, who models a true commitment to Native leadership and climate justice. She is without a doubt the right person to lead the Interior. It is high time that an Indigenous leader be steering policy in the President’s cabinet. Haaland’s appointment is historic and we honor the symbolism of this appointment for Indigenous communities whose lands have been stolen, and who have been silenced, murdered, and sidelined for centuries.”
“On Day 1, Haaland must stop fossil fuel extraction on public lands, including in the Arctic Refuge. We will work with Haaland to ensure a just and equitable transition to a regenerative, people-powered economy. Haaland’s leadership will help us protect our public lands, respect treaty rights, and ensure adequate treaty consultation. We, the people, will secure the future we deserve.”