Minister Deb Haaland first Native to join the US cabinet
Congressman Deb Haaland will be the first Native American woman to hold a ministerial post in the US cabinet. The Senate confirmed her as Minister of the Interior. Haaland, from the state of New Mexico, belongs to the Pueblo of Laguna tribe.
Dhe US Senate has confirmed Congressman Deb Haaland as US Secretary of the Interior. Haaland becomes the first indigenous peoples to head the ministry that has exerted great influence on the country’s tribes for generations. 51 senators voted for the 60-year-old, 40 against.
Democrats and representatives of indigenous tribes recognized the decision as historic. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Haaland’s affirmation was “a gigantic step forward” towards a government that represented all of the country’s wealth and diversity. The indigenous population has been disadvantaged at government level “and in so many other areas” for far too long.
Haaland from the state of New Mexico belongs to the indigenous tribe of the Pueblo of Laguna, her father is of Norwegian descent. According to her website, her family has lived in the southern state for more than 30 generations.
As Minister of the Interior, she will not only oversee the affairs of the nearly 600 indigenous tribes recognized by the federal government. In the USA, the ministry, with around 70,000 employees, is primarily responsible for the administration of the state-owned land. The ministry decides, for example, whether nature reserves are designated or whether energy generation such as fracking is permitted. The national parks also fall within the area of responsibility. Internal security, on the other hand – which is the responsibility of the interior ministries in Europe – is the responsibility of the home security department in the USA.
Since the founding of the United States, no indigenous person has ever been responsible for the affairs of the indigenous population. During this time, US governments often pursued policies against the interests of the tribes, for example by expropriating tribal areas.
Even the nomination of Haaland had been followed closely and celebrated frenetically by the tribes in the country. Hundreds of people attended online events to watch Haaland’s two-day hearing in February. Many indigenous peoples in the USA see in Haaland a minister who will make the tribes heard and protect the nature and rights of the tribes.