Deb Haaland, nominated by President-elect Joe Biden’s to become the first Indian leader of the U.S. Department of Interior, held a virtual meeting last month in which she pledged to consult regularly with tribal leaders on all decisions that affect indigenous communities.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Haaland would become the first Native American ever to serve in a presidential cabinet.
According to Native News Online, Haaland also said the Biden-Harris administration will work with tribal communities to remediate environmental injustices and the impacts of climate change on their homelands, while also creating stronger communities and economies.
Haaland was joined by Cedric Richmond, incoming senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Julie Rodriguez, incoming director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
According to Indian Country Today, New Mexico state Rep. Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, announced her candidacy Monday to run as a Democrat in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Louis hopes to fill the seat of Rep. Deb Haaland, who will vacate the office if confirmed by the Senate as the next Interior secretary.
Louis is the first Native person to officially announce their candidacy for the seat so far.
“I want to prove that what happened with Representative Haaland is not a fluke,” Louis said. “Native Americans can run for office. We can show our strengths and demonstrate our experiences, and our education and bring that to the table and fight for our constituents.”