‘I am honored and ready to serve’: Deb Haaland and the Joe Biden administration
Posted: Saturday, December 19, 2020
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nominee for Secretary of Interior, Deb Haaland in Wilmington, Delaware. December 19, 2020. Thank you. I’m proud to stand here — on the ancestral homelands of the Lenape Tribal Nation. The president-elect and vice president-elect are committed to a diverse cabinet, and I’m honored and humbled to accept their nomination for Secretary of the Interior. Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. My life has not been easy — I struggled with homelessness, relied on food stamps, and raised my child as a single mom. These struggles give me perspective to help people succeed. My grandparents — who were taken away from their families as children and sent to boarding school, in an effort to destroy their traditions and identities — maintained our culture. This moment is profound when we consider the fact that a former Secretary of the Interior once proclaimed it his goal to, quote, 'civilize or exterminate' us. I’m a living testament to the failure of that horrific ideology. I also stand on the shoulders of my ancestors, and all the people who have sacrificed so that I can be here. My dad was a US Marine, and no matter where we were stationed, he made sure we spent time outdoors. Time with my dad in the mountains or on the beach and time with my grandparents in the cornfield at Laguna taught me to respect the Earth and to value our resources. I carry those values with me everywhere. I’m a product of their resilience. As our country faces the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice, the Interior Department has a role to address these challenges. The president-elect’s goals are driven by justice and empowering communities who have shouldered the burdens of environmental negligence. And we will ensure that the decisions at Interior will once again be driven by science. We know that climate change can only be solved with participation of every department and of every community coming together in common purpose — this country can and will tackle this challenge. The president-elect and vice president-elect know that issues under Interior's jurisdiction aren't simply about conservation — they're woven in with justice, good jobs, and closing the racial, wealth, and health gaps. This historic moment will not go by without the acknowledgment of the many people who have believed in me over the years and had the confidence in me for this position. I’ll be fierce for all of us, for our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve.