The US Senate confirmed the appointment of Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, making a New Mexico politician the first indigenous to head a ministerial agency in US history.
Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, would oversee more than 202,342,821 hectares (500 million acres) of U.S. land and federal government relations with the 574 recognized indigenous countries. Native American and environmental groups campaigned for Haaland’s affirmation.
“Indigenous people, supporters and allies across the country have worked tirelessly to support and advance [Haaland] “We couldn’t be more proud of it,” Crystal Eco-Hawk, founder and CEO of IllumiNative, an indigenous-led group that aims to showcase the image of indigenous peoples, told Al Jazeera.
Eko Hawk Haaland, one of the first indigenous women elected to the United States Congress in 2018, described her as “a force and innovator of history who will fight to hear the voices and issues of Aboriginal people.”
Haaland has always opposed hydraulic fracturing and has even joined the pipeline protests and wrote in an article published in 2017 on the Medium Web platform that:[f]Pouring is a danger to the air we breathe and the water we drink, ”and“ Auctioning our land for crushing and digging leads to nothing but profits for a few. ”
New Mexico MP was backed by a 51-40 margin. The vote came after Republican senators on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month toast for his views on the exploitation of natural gas and oil on public lands.
Deb Haaland defended Native Americans and their views on renewable energy during the government affirmation hearing. pic.twitter.com/CCo4oarfSw
– AJ + (ajplus) February 26, 2021
Haaland also supported the Green New Deal, a progressive plan to shift the US economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It is supported by the Echorouk Movement, a popular environmental organization with the progressive left.
Indigenous peoples have been marginalized throughout American history, and while the appointment of Deep Haaland as Home Secretary may not eliminate this damage, it is a major step toward halting and reversing this trend.
– Sunrise Movement 🌅 (sunrisemvmt) December 17, 2020
Haaland told Republicans, who challenged her about her views on combating fracking, during the hearing that she would be presenting President Joe Biden’s platform, not her.
As Minister of the Interior, Haaland would also oversee federally recognized indigenous reserves.
Indigenous people in the United States have renewed their efforts in recent years to prevent their holy sites from being exploited.
The Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, led by the Lakota people in 2016, have been likened to the civil rights movement.
Haaland was present in the fields used by the protesters, serving food.
Recently, Oglala Lakota activists lobbied for Mount Rushmore, a monument to four American presidents carved from a sacred mountain representing the ancestors of Oglala and other indigenous groups, for its return to the tribe.
Former President Donald Trump paid a controversial visit to the South Dakota Memorial last year to celebrate US Independence Day on July 4 – which usually includes fireworks and is important to the economy. State – without consulting indigenous leaders.
The visit was announced by South Dakota Governor Christie Noem, a Trump ally.
During the hearing in February, Republican Senator Roger Marshall said, “I think it is wonderful that America celebrates our independence and what a great place to do it.” He said Noem had invited Haaland and Biden to attend.
Haaland replied: “If the epidemic ends and we can travel, I haven’t gone to Mount Rushmore before, so I appreciate that.”
Haaland previously told MSNBC before July 4 that tribes were not included in discussions about the outer limits of their reserves and that “just not including sacred sites within their outer limits” does not mean that tribes do not consider these sites. .
“The history of the indigenous people is American history,” Halland said. “We have to respect him.”
.EpDebHaalandThe latter’s nomination goes to the full Senate for a vote on Monday. Many senators should know that his assertion is important to their constituents and that we are watching this vote. Click on the link to encourage them to support #DeepInterior. https://t.co/Cv27FxlO3r pic.twitter.com/Il8iD20kt4
– IllumiNative (IllumiNatives) March 11, 2021
Echo Hook said the designation of Haaland Island gives indigenous communities “a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future of this country.”
The Enlightenment Leader hoped Haaland “will continue to inspire more indigenous people to run for tribal and local government, Congress and beyond.”