Before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden is preparing for his term by choosing key cabinet members to bolster his incoming administration. After several weeks of deliberation among House Democrats, Biden has reportedly made the historic decision to nominate Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to head the Department of the Interior, multiple news sources reported on Dec. 17 — making her the first Native American woman to lead the department. People all over the internet are celebrating this momentous occasion, and these tweets about Deb Haaland’s interior secretary nomination are all excited to possibly welcome her to Biden’s presidential team.
Haaland, the congresswoman for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, identifies as "an enrolled citizen of the Laguna Pueblo community, a single mom to [her] queer daughter Somah, a daughter of veterans, a grateful fighter for environmental and social justice," according to a Feb. 10 statement to Congress. If confirmed, Haaland will lead the department responsible for managing and sustaining most federal land and natural resources, honoring the nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, and advocating for America’s island communities. Additionally, she will lead agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.
Perhaps most notably, the Department of the Interior also oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which provides services for approximately 2 million Native Americans across 574 federally recognized tribes. Haaland, one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress, will also be the first Native American to head the department, per The Washington Post.
People all over Twitter were quick to recognize this momentous win for America’s Indigenous community, and congratulated Haaland on her upcoming role.
Throughout her career, Haaland has been vocal about the effects of climate change on the environment, giving Americans an insight into her likely priorities for the department. In a Dec. 17 Twitter post, she criticized the Trump administration for failing tribal nations in the response to both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic — two crises that have disproportionately affected America’s Indigenous communities. According to a Nov. 12 report from AMP Research Lab, studies showed that Indigenous Americans have a COVID-19 death rate triple that of white Americans, and are significantly less likely to receive quality health care.
Throughout his term, President Donald Trump has facilitated policies and proposals to, among other things, weaken the National Environmental Policy Act, push for drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reduce tribal territory for commercial fracking, approve pipelines across Native treaty lands, and more.
"[Our] sacred areas — the ancestral homelands of my people, are now open to leases and desecration by extractive industries, which will exacerbate climate change and destroy countless sacred sites and erase our history," Haaland said in her statement to Congress. "If we are truly going to address this crisis we need the administration to recognize the centuries of violence that Native people have endured."
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