Deb Haaland is about to make history again.
Two years after becoming the first native woman to be elected to the United States Congress with Sharice Davids, New Mexico’s indigenous legislator will be the first indigenous person to join a presidential cabinet if the Senate confirms the nomination of President-elect Joe Biden as head of the Department of the Interior.
“It would be an honor to advance Biden-Harris’s environmental agenda, to help restore the government-government relationship with tribes deteriorated by the Trump administration, and to be the first indigenous person to join the cabinet. serve the history of our country. ” Haaland said in a statement from the newspaper The New York Times.
Haaland would lead the body charged with ensuring the welfare of the 1.9 million Indians and overseeing the federal government’s management of 500 million acres.
The appointment of the 60-year-old attorney marks a turning point for the Interior Ministry that has passed through history a tense relationship with the 574 federally recognized tribes.
Haaland is originally from Laguna Pueblo, an area occupied by the lagoons or kawaik, known as “the people of the lake”, a tribe belonging to the Keresan language group and Pueblo culture, living in New Mexico.
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Haaland was elected by New Mexico’s First Congressional District in 2018, which was abandoned when fellow Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham ran for (and won) governor. After her victory, she dedicated her victory to women, the working class and “all those marginalized by the billionaire class.”
Before Haaland, two other Indians had been elected to Congress: Republican representatives Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole, both from Oklahoma. During his years in the Capitol, he served on the Natural Resources Management Committee in the House of Representatives.
Prior to that, Haaland served as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017 and was an election director in the indigenous community during Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. elected Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
He represents the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and has been promoted a policy agenda in favor of immigrants, abortion, the fight against climate change and creating an economy based on clean energy.
In an interview with HuffPost in 2018, Haaland advocated that indigenous residents on the reservations should participate in public policy formulation. For example, he noted that tribal participation in the massive tax reform bill that went into effect in 2017 was close to nil.
This was important to her, as she shared that she had lived a childhood with used clothes, worked in a bakery for $ 1.95 an hour, and other difficulties. He didn’t go to college until he was 28 because he didn’t know he had to go. None of his parents, who were in the military, went to college. But eventually she got a degree in English and later also in law.