Secretary Of The Interior Haaland is an historic moment for Native Americans and the Green New Deal movement

Deb Haaland is a “Fierce Ally”, she “is a perfect choice — she is a fierce ally of our movement who has fought for renewable energy job creation in the House and was one of the first Congresspeople to endorse the vision for a Green New Deal.”

by Meteor Staff

Thursday, December 17, 2020

President-Elect Joe Biden announced the appointment of US Rep Deb Haaland to the post of Secretary of the Interior.

This marks the first time that a Native American will lead the Department of the Interior which manages relations with native tribes and pubic lands as well as the first Native American Cabinet Secretary. One of the most well-respected Indigenous leaders in the country, Rep. Haaland has a broad coalition of supporters including progressive organizations, over 150 tribes and hundreds of tribal leaders from across the country, environmentalists, and even Republican members of Congress.

Biden’s Cabinet selections have included already several historic appointments, including Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American, as the first Latino head of the Department of Homeland Security; Janet Yellen as the first woman to head the Treasury; and Pete Buttigieg for transportation secretary, the first openly gay Cabinet secretary if confirmed by the Senate.

Sunrise Movement Executive Director and co-founder, Varshini Prakash said:

“Today is a historic day. Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to “heal the soul of America.” I cannot think of a single greater act to begin that promise than by giving a Native American woman authority over the nation’s stolen land and allowing her to begin the process of restoring relationships with our nation’s first peoples. Thank you Joe Biden for listening to the unprecedented groundswell of support that united behind Deb Haaland — there is no one better to lead the Department of the Interior.

“Haaland is a perfect choice — she is a fierce ally of our movement who has fought for renewable energy job creation in the House and was one of the first Congresspeople to endorse the vision for a Green New Deal after it was introduced by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in 2019. With a progressive leader at the helm, we can make real progress on stopping climate change and ensure sovereignty and dignity for all native people and justice for all.

“Rep. Deb Haaland’s appointment as Secretary of the Interior is a historic moment for every Native American and the Green New Deal movement. We know that in order to stop climate change, we must return leadership to the native tribes who cared for this land for centuries. This historic day would not have been possible without the hard work of tribes, native leaders, our Indigenous movement partners like NDN Collective and Indigenous Environmental Network, and every young person who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and pushed every candidate in the Democratic primary to chase the vision of a Green New Deal.”

Haaland has been endorsed by more than 150 Tribal leaders, organizations representing over 100 Tribal Nations, more than 50 members of Congress (including Republicans Don Young and Tom Cole), and a broad coalition of climate and environmental groups. She may be the only politician in America with support from progressives like the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats and Congressional Republicans like Don Young and Tom Cole.

Nikki Pitre, executive director of the Center for Native American Youth, said in a statement supporting te move:
“The nomination of Representative Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior is historic, groundbreaking, and a proud moment for Indian Country. As a Native American woman, I know that representation and visibility matters. To be the first Native woman cabinet secretary in history will be a proud moment for our people.
Rep. Haaland will do right by our nation’s public lands, waters, wildlife and will help lead the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education, where she will have the opportunity to right historical wrongs, chart a new path forward between the United States’ government and Indigenous communities, and will lead with passion, equity, and a penchant for justice.
Native youth look to her as more than a role model, but as an Aunty, because we trust her and are continually inspired by her leadership. She was recognized as an honorary Champion for Change at the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute in 2018. “

Sen. Elizabeth Warren described Haaland as having “not only invaluable lived experiences, but also a top-notch command of policy.”

Rep. Young (R – Alaska) praised Haaland as a “consensus builder” and said that at the Department of the Interior she “would pour her passion into the job every single day.”

In a letter to the Biden transition team signed by over 50 Members of Congress led by Rep. Raul Grijalva, the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, described Haaland as “eminently qualified to be Interior Secretary.”

Rep. Cole (R – OK) said that he has accomplished a great deal with Rep. Haaland, pointing to bipartisan legislation addressing murdered and missing Indigenous women as well as coronavirus relief aid for tribes. “We understand that Native American issues are not a matter of conservative versus liberal,” he added.

Deb Haaland introduced the 30 by 30 Act, which “sets a national goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and 30% of the ocean within the United States by 2030”.

She argued persuasively that the best route out of the coronavirus recession is to move swiftly to build out clean energy. “We need to listen to our planet and act now. While we do that, our country can reap the economic benefits of new industries and address economic inequality.”

In Congress, she is a respected and effective leader with a reputation for working across the aisle, introducing more bipartisan bills and attracting more cosponsors than any other House freshman, and introducing more bills with bicameral support sponsors than any other member of the House, period.

Haaland has served as vice-chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands — which means she’s exercised oversight over the same agencies she would be managing as Interior Secretary.

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