Policy Alert: Congresswoman Deb Haaland Confirmed as Secretary for Department of the Interior
March 16, 2021
Yesterday, in an historic vote, the U.S. Senate voted 51-40 to confirm Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the next Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
Secretary Haaland is the first Native American to hold a position in a Presidential Cabinet. This nomination is uniquely historic as the Interior Department was often responsible for the war efforts, land and resource grabs, along with assimilation policies enacted against this country’s Native American people. While her confirmation does not correct past wrongs, it is a recognition that the future of this country needs the perspectives and cultural knowledge of tribal communities to build a brighter future for all Americans.
“NAFOA heartily congratulates Congresswoman Deb Haaland for her historic confirmation as the next Secretary of the Department of Interior. It is with great honor, pride and enthusiasm that NAFOA welcomes and embraces the first Native Interior Secretary. Congresswoman Haaland has demonstrated a strong commitment to building tribal economies, including supporting meaningful inclusion of tribal communities in the Community Reinvestment Act, testifying on behalf off Indian Country in support of equitable tax inclusion, and advocating for tribal governments in the Coronavirus Relief Fund among other important issues. As a trailblazer, we are confident she will continue to serve Indian Country in advancing economic growth and sovereignty for our Nations.“
— Cristina Danforth, Board President, NAFOA
NAFOA has been privileged to work with Secretary Haaland in recent years. NAFOA welcomed then Congresswoman-candidate Haaland to our 2018 Fall Finance and Tribal Economies Conference hosted in her home state of New Mexico, and we were fortunate to have her back for our 2020 Fall virtual conference as well. In 2019, Rep. Haaland joined us to kick-off a community bus tour through Indian Country with the US Comptroller of the Currency. About one year ago, in March 2020, the Congresswoman and three other sitting Native American congressional members shared their testimony along with a panel featuring NAFOA Board President Cristina Danforth for a historic hearing with the Ways & Means Select Revenue Measure Subcommittee on the impact of the tax code on tribes.
NAFOA congratulates Secretary Haaland on her historic confirmation. We are confident her leadership over the DOI will have a significant positive and lasting impact on Indian Country.
For questions or concerns, please contact Dante Desiderio at Dante@nafoa.org or (202) 631-2003.