Written by Matthew Daly Associated Press
Washington – The Senate on Monday confirmed New Mexico’s deputy, Deep Haaland, as secretary of the interior, making her the first indigenous American to lead a cabinet ministry and the first to lead the federal agency that has had an impact on the nation’s tribes for nearly two centuries.
Haaland was confirmed by a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for the cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden. Four Republicans voted yes: Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan from Alaska, Susan Collins in Maine, and Lindsay Graham from South Carolina.
Democrats and tribal groups praised Haaland’s assertion As a historical one, to say her choice would mean that Aboriginal people – who lived in North America before the creation of the United States – will first see a Native American leading the powerful oath as decisions are made regarding relationships with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. The interior also oversees a host of other issues, including energy development in lands, public waters, national parks, and endangered species.
“Re / count. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.”
“Native Americans have been neglected for too long at the cabinet level and in many other places,” Schumer said.
Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member and 35-generation resident of New Mexico, thanked hundreds of supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations.
Haaland said after the vote that her assertion showed that tribal members were “visible” and that they were taken seriously. “No, it should not have taken more than 200 years for someone from the indigenous population to take the lead in the Dakhiliya, or even to be a cabinet secretary for that matter.”
Haaland said she was “ready to walk for my arms” so that the Ministry of Interior could play its role in Biden’s plan to “build back better” and “manage our natural resources in a responsible way to protect them for future generations.”
Democrats and tribal groups hailed Haaland’s assertion as historic, saying that her choice would mean that Aboriginal people will, for the first time, see a Native American lead the strong oath as decisions are made about relationships with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes.
Supporters displayed a picture of Haaland, a two-term congresswoman representing the largest Albuquerque, on the side of the inner building in downtown Washington, with a text reading “Our ancestors’ dreams come true.”
Many Native Americans see Haaland, 60, as someone who raises their voices, protects the environment and the rights of tribes. Her choice breaks a two-century pattern of non-native, mostly male, officials serving as the top federal official in Amerindian affairs. The federal government has often dispossessed tribes of their lands and, until recently, assimilated them into white culture.
“It’s been a long time since an American Indian served as home secretary,” said von Sharp, president of the National Congress of the American Indian, the nation’s oldest and largest tribal organization.
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“The nation needs its leadership and vision to help lead our response to climate change, manage our lands and cultural resources, and to ensure that the United States, through the federal government, fulfills its trust and treaty obligations to tribal states and our citizens,” Sharp said.
Jonathan Nese, president of Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, described Haaland’s assertion as “an unprecedented and monumental day for all the first people of this country. Words cannot express how excited and proud we are to see one of us assured of working in this high-profile position.” ″
Neese added that Haaland’s assertion “puts us on a better path to correcting past mistakes with the federal government and inspires hope in our people, especially the youth.”
Not everyone was celebrating. Some Republican senators have criticized Haaland’s views on oil exploration and other energy development as “radical” and extremist, citing her opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and her support for the Green New Deal, a comprehensive, albeit often ambitious, policy to address climate change and income inequality. .
Wyoming Sun. Said John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Haaland’s views are extreme Supporting “disastrous legislation” such as the “Green New Deal” would make her assertion of the Secretary of the Interior disastrous, hurting energy supplies and the economy in America.
“US jobs are being sacrificed in the name of Biden’s agenda, and Representative Haaland cannot defend it,” Barrasso said last week, referring to Biden’s decisions to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and impose an embargo on new oil and gas. Leases on federal land.
Paraso’s also disadvantaged Haaland’s support for continued protection of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region of the Rocky Mountains, despite a recommendation by the Fish and Wildlife Service that about 700 bears in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho no longer require protection.
Haaland chose to ignore the science and scientists in the same department that she is now nominated to lead, calling on the interior to remove the protection for grizzlies under the Endangered Species Act.
Barrasso and several Western senators missed the vote, citing a severe winter storm that threw 3 feet of snow over parts of Colorado and Wyoming, causing many flights to be canceled. Wyoming Republican fellow Cynthia Loomis and Democratic Senators Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper of Colorado were also absent from the vote.
Hickenlooper is encouraging Haaland to keep the Colorado Land Administration Office after the Trump administration relocated it from Washington, DC. She was not obligated to do so.
Senator. Maria Cantwell, de-Washington, said she appreciates Haaland’s leadership in the House of Representatives on a host of issues, adding that Haaland’s standing as a Native American “will give us an additional advantage in (tribal) issues that are so important to the Indian country in general.”
Murkowski said she had “some real concerns” about Haaland because of her views on oil drilling and other energy issues, but said that Natives of Alaska, an important constituency in her rural state, had urged her to support Haaland.
“Quite frankly, we need (Haaland) to succeed,” Murkowski said.
Senator. Martin Heinrich, DNM, said he was disappointed with the rhetoric used by Barrasso and the other Republicans. Heinrich, who lives in Halland, described her assertion as historic and said it was “Always an open door and an open mind” for a range of views.
Fellow New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Logan, who presided over the Senate during the vote on Haaland’s nomination, said she brings a “long-awaited unique perspective” to the Home Office’s mission to protect natural resources and honor responsibilities to tribes and other indigenous people.
“I have no doubt that Secretary Haaland will leave an indelible mark on the Home Office, and I look forward to continuing to work with her to make a difference for the people of New Mexico,” he said.
Associated Press writers Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana contributed to this story.