Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes leaders met and discussed their response and recovery efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and provided updates on other tribal activities. Leaders also passed a series of resolutions, including one supporting the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) as Secretary of the Interior.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris selected Haaland as their nominee for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed by the Senate, Haaland, an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, would be the first Native American to serve in the Presidential cabinet and the first to serve as the Secretary of the Interior.
“Deb Haaland is uniquely qualified to serve as Secretary of the Interior,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “As a graduate of the University of New Mexico Law School and a former tribal administrator, Congresswoman Haaland has firsthand knowledge of tribal governance. She is a trailblazer.”
If confirmed as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Haaland would be charged with leading divisions of the federal government that are critical to Indian Country and the government-to-government relationship, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration.
“Rep. Haaland is well-qualified to serve as the first Native American Secretary of the Interior,” said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. “I believe her nomination illustrates a unique understanding of the importance of Native involvement in vital policy decisions affecting the citizens of tribal nations.”
During her time in Congress, Haaland has served as vice chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, as the chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, and as a member of the subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.
“Native voices should always be involved in discussions that impact Native communities,” said Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill. “We not only support the confirmation of Congresswoman Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, but we also ask that her selection to a cabinet-level position be only the beginning of more Native representation in the federal government, at all levels.”