Joe Biden Taps Representative Deb Haaland as First Native American Interior Secretary


President-Elect Joe Biden will make another historic nomination as he continues to fill out his cabinet. Per multiple outlets, Biden has officially tapped Representative Deb Haaland for secretary of the interior, a move that would make her the first Native American to hold that position in its entire 171-year history.

If confirmed by the Senate as secretary of the interior, Halaand would be in charge of the department that oversees the country’s natural resources, including national parks and tribal lands. The 60-year-old currently serves as the U.S. representative for New Mexico’s First District and is an enrolled member of Pueblo of Laguna.

“It means a lot to a group of people who have been here since time immemorial to know that they’re truly being represented,” she told NPR in November while discussing the potential nomination. “I think it would really change the way people see our federal government.”

Halaand first made history in 2019, when she was one of the first two Native American women elected to the House of Representatives. She is also a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed her support for the nomination on December 16. “Congresswoman Deb Haaland is one of the most respected and one of the best members of Congress I have served with,” she said in a statement, calling Halaand “an excellent choice.”

Many people on Twitter are also thrilled about Biden’s latest appointment. “This is monumental, historic, and she is the right choice to lead the Interior Dept at this time,” Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, tweeted. 

“This is a big deal,” Halaand’s colleague Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Historic appointment. A visionary Native woman in charge of federal lands. Unequivocally progressive. Green New Deal champion. Exquisitely experienced.”

“@RepDebHaaland sister, you are going to do such a great job,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded. “I am so proud of you and the movement.”


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