Today, in an historic announcement, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris nominated Representative Deb Haaland from New Mexico’s 1st Congressional district to serve as Secretary of Interior. Rep. Haaland would be the first Native American, and only third woman, to serve in this role.
The following is a statement from Gussie Lord, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships Program, which focuses on our representation of tribes and Indigenous communities.
“The nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland — a champion of the environment and of Native people — heralds a new era of conservation, progress, and healing in the Department of the Interior (DOI) that is long overdue. We wholeheartedly endorse this nomination and believe that her leadership will result in policies that are protective of this nation’s natural and cultural heritage.”
The Department of the Interior is primarily responsible for most federal lands and natural resources held in the public trust. Through a dozen agencies under its command, the DOI administers national parks, wildlife refuges, historic landmarks, and offshore territories of the outer continental shelf. The Interior Department is charged with steering wide-ranging preservation efforts such as endangered species conservation. It also oversees resource development of the public lands it manages by industries such as the mining, fossil fuel, and timber industries.