debhaaland
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) provides a Congressional response to the State of Indian Nations in Washington, D.C., on February 10, 2020. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Rep. Haaland ‘honored’ to be considered for Biden Cabinet
Monday, October 12, 2020
Indianz.Com

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), one of the first two Native women in Congress, is “honored” to be considered for a prominent role in a Joe Biden administration, POLITICO reports.

Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, is being considered for Secretary of the Interior should Biden win the election in November. Were she to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would be the first Native person to lead the Department of the Interior, the federal agency with the most trust and treaty responsibilities in Indian Country.

“I’m honored that people believe in my leadership in protecting our public lands and combating climate change,” Haaland told POLITICO. “It is also meaningful that our country has finally reached the point where having the first Native American Cabinet Secretary is a serious consideration. I am open to those opportunities where I can best serve New Mexico, Indian Country and our country at large.”

As they met with tribal leaders in Arizona last week, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris updated their Indian policy platform. It calls for Native people to be appointed to high-level positions across the federal government, a standard set when Barack Obama was in office.

“Not only did the Obama-Biden Administration appoint Native Americans to traditionally-held positions, like Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs and Director of Indian Health Service, they appointed Native Americans to many positions across government, including Deputy Secretary of the Interior, senior roles in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland and the first Native female judge to a U.S. District Court,” the Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations reads.

“Biden will build on the Obama-Biden Administration’s record by ensuring tribal nations have a strong voice and role in the federal government,” the 14-page document continues.

Currently, only five Native people in the Republican Donald Trump administration are serving in U.S. Senate-confirmed positions. One is at Interior, two are at the DDepartment of Health and Human Services and one is at the Department of Justice.

At one point during the Obama era, Interior alone had four Native people in Senate-confirmed positions.

Read More on the Story
Amid jostling for Biden energy roles, New Mexicans stake claim on Interior (POLITICO October 9, 2020)

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