Biden reportedly picks Deb Haaland for interior secretary
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Deb Haaland would become the first Native American Cabinet member if confirmed by the Senate.
In 2018, Rep. Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member in New Mexico, made history as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. This year, after Joe Biden won the presidential election, tribal leaders and environmental activists called on the president-elect to stay true to his word that Native Americans would have a place in his administration, starting with nominating Haaland to be the first Indigenous person to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

Now Haaland is set to make history again. The Washington Post has reported that Biden has chosen her to head the Interior Department.

Nominating Haaland as secretary of the interior is a significant move for the department that manages the country's natural resources and public and tribal lands. Haaland already had the support of numerous House Democrats and had been vetted by Biden's team weeks ago. But the road to the decision was difficult, sources told Reuters, considering it would narrow the Democratic Party's already slimmed-down majority in the House of Representatives in 2021. Then, on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying that she too backed Haaland for the position.

"It's nice that a Native American in a Cabinet-level position is a consideration to lead our country for the president-elect," Haaland told Vox last month. "It would be symbolic, it would be profound, when we think about how the federal government essentially threw out their federal Indian policies throughout the centuries."

Haaland is familiar with the Indigenous struggle of lacking resources. She is a single mother who relied on food stamps and put herself through college before starting her own business and becoming a tribal administrator. As the former state Democratic Party chair in New Mexico, she witnessed firsthand how government leaders take over tribal lands for oil and gas operations and corporate profit. She also fought alongside Indigenous activists during the Standing Rock protests to…
Rachel Ramirez
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