Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico makes history. She became the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency after when the Senate confirmed her as President Joe Biden’s secretary of the Interior. In 2018, Haaland became one of the first two Native American women elected to the House. But with her new position, she has set another beginning, a beginning to rewrite the history of America’s Indigenous people.
“A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior. Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land” ” she wrote on Twitter before the vote.
As opposition to her confirmation, Republicans pointed out on Haaland’s history of fighting against oil and gas exploration. She was confirmed on a 51-40 vote. Four Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, voted for Haaland’s confirmation.
“Would be voting to raise gas prices for families who are already struggling, to raise fuel and heating bills for seniors on a fixed income, to take the tough times we’ve been going through and make them even tougher” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader said.
Among the most contentious items on Haaland’s to-do list will be enacting Biden’s campaign pledge to ban new permits for oil and gas projects on public lands. Haaland will also revisit the Trump administration’s rollback of habitat protections under the Endangered Species Act.