The 60-year-old Congresswoman will be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary next month when she takes over the Interior
The 60-year-old New Mexico Congresswoman will become the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in US history next month when she takes responsibility for the land and natural resources under Joe Biden as Head of the Interior Department.
Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo, one of 567 sovereign tribal nations in 35 states. According to the 2010 census, 5. 2 million people, or approximately 2% of the US population, identify as Indians or Native Americans – descendants of those who survived the US government’s policies to kill, remove, or assimilate indigenous peoples.
In January, Haaland will also be responsible for upholding the government’s legally binding obligations to the tribes – treaty obligations that have been systematically violated and have devastating consequences for life expectancy, political participation and economic opportunities in the Indian country.
In an interview days before her nomination, Haaland told the Guardian that as Home Secretary she would « advance climate change priorities, tribal consultation and a green economic recovery ». .
It’s a big, high-hoping task after four years of racist rhetoric and destructive upheaval by the Trump administration who despised the climate or the environment by considering fossil fuel heating projects in low light public and tribal areas culturally and ecologically important locations.
« I will be wild for all of us, for our planet and for our entire protected land, » said Haaland in her acceptance speech. « This moment is profound when we consider the fact that a former interior minister once made it his goal to » quote us, civilize or exterminate us « . I am living proof of the failure of this terrible ideology. ”
Indigenous communities in the US and around the world are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis such as rising sea levels and droughts, as well as environmental hazards from polluting industries. As Home Secretary, Haaland will play a key role in undoing Trump’s rollbacks and will also be a key lieutenant in Biden’s new climate team.
It is not the first time that Haaland has made history. In 2018, she became one of the first two Native women in Congress alongside Sharice Davids of Kansas. Six Native Americans – four Democrats and two Republicans – are sworn in in January.
Representation and diversity are important, according to Haaland, because life experiences shape political decisions. “We don’t need people who all have the same perspective, we need people from different parts of the country who grew up in different ways, who bring this history and culture with them and apply what we have learned from their parents and grandparents and bring everything that feeds into the decisions we make, ”she told the Guardian.
It has been a rocky road for Haaland, who like a disproportionate number of Native Americans have experienced homelessness and have relied on food stamps. It is also the result of racist measures such as the forced removal of thousands of local children from their families between 1860 and 1978. At the age of eight, Haaland’s grandmother was sent to a Catholic boarding school for five years a hundred miles from home.
“There are many people in this country who have suffered historical trauma from this time. I carry this story with me, I am a product of America’s assimilation policies. I firmly believe that this perspective is very important for the issues we are bringing to Congress. ”
Haaland was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 after speaking out under the motto “Congress has never heard a voice like mine. Since then, it has put laws in place to establish a Truth Commission for Native American boarding schools and to spearhead two laws aimed at combating the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women – crimes increasingly related to temporary extractive industry workers who live or live in so-called men’s camps nearby on tribal lands.
« Indigenous women have been missing and murdered since Europeans in the late 14th. Century came to this continent. Violence against women is my priority. Not only is it regulated by two laws, but now is the time to dig deeper and keep working, ”she said.
Haaland will be the oldest Native American in the US government since Republican Charles Curtis, a member of the Kaw Nation in what is now Kansas, who was Vice President of Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933.
She will be part of a government facing unprecedented complex and interrelated challenges, including a runaway pandemic, global economic recession, growing hunger and the climate emergency.
Haaland’s track record across partisan lines could also prove crucial to Biden’s success at a time when the country – and lawmakers – are deeply divided.
She said, « I’ve got more Republicans to sign my bills than any other Democrat. For all of us – county officials, governors, and mayors, not just Congress – it is important to make sure we are working together for the common good. We want to pass laws that will help people across the country, and we need to make sure these messages are spread. I will continue to take action, protect our environment, and ensure that vulnerable communities have a say in what drives our country forward. ”
The around 70. 000 Home Office personnel monitor one-fifth of the entire country in the US and 1. 7 billion. Hectares of coastline, as well as managing national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and natural resources such as gas, oil and water.
Shifting priorities at the Home Office could have a significant impact on global warming, as roughly a quarter of all US carbon emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from public land, according to the US Geological Survey.
Earlier this year, Haaland sponsored a bill setting a national goal to protect 30% of US countries and oceans by 2030 – a plan that has since been adopted by the Biden administration as a priority on its environmental agenda.
I want to make sure tribal leaders – and all marginalized communities – have a seat at the table
« Environmental injustice and economic injustice have gripped so many communities, and they have enough. They want us to pay attention and help them succeed. As for the Indian land, I want to make sure tribal leaders – and all marginalized communities – have a seat at the table. ”
In stark contrast to Trump, Haaland believes Biden will consult Indians – as the government is required by law. « I am confident that this president will pay attention to the Indian country. That’s why I believe so many [Indians] came to the vote and helped him win Arizona and Wisconsin. « . ”
Restoring the protection eroded by Trump for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante – national monuments in southern Utah that are sacred to Native Americans is a priority for Haaland.
The November election came after a summer of unprecedented protests calling for racial justice, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was killed by a white policeman who stood on his for nearly nine minutes Neck kneeled.
Progressive Democrats, including Haaland and the so-called troop – consisting of Congressmen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – demanded radical structural changes from the demonstrators to address racial inequalities in terms of health, housing and immigration , Education, work and the environment.
“So many Native Americans have joined the Black Lives Matter protests because the Indian country recognized that we are allies in the struggle for environmental, economic, and racial justice. These frontline communities deserve the resources to stand up to themselves, ”Haaland said.
Deb Haaland, United States Secretary of the Interior, Joe Biden, American Indian, United States Congress, Republican Party, Indigenous Peoples
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