Deb Haaland Confirmed As First Native American Interior Secretary

The Senate voted Monday to confirm New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland as President Joe Biden‘s Interior secretary.

Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

The vote was 51 to 40, with most Republicans voting against her after several called her views on public land use and fossil fuels extreme.

Four Republicans — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, and Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — joined all Democrats in voting for her.

It’s not the first time Haaland has made history. In 2018, she became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

Her nomination by President Joe Biden to lead Interior was celebrated by tribal groups, environmental organizations and lawmakers who called the action long overdue.

Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Department of the Interior has been used as a tool of oppression against America’s indigenous peoples.

In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the agency is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes.

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