Senator Mark Kelly joins the AZ Tribes to seek confirmation from Deb Haaland

As a growing number of tribal and Native American leaders gathered around interior secretary-designate Deb Haaland, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly said he would vote to endorse them if the Senate accepts the nomination.

Haaland, a Democrat from New Mexico, was one of the first two enrolled tribal members in the continental US to be elected to Congress and would be the first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior if her nomination is confirmed. As a member of Laguna Pueblo, who says she is a 35th generation New Mexican, she was recently sworn in for her second term in Congress.

Kelly, a Democrat, said Haaland would provide strong leadership to the agency Arizona needs.

“I am determined to work with Rep. Haaland, Republicans, and Democrats on measures that will grow our state’s economy, honor our outdoor heritage, and ensure that the federal government honors its contractual obligations to the tribal communities of Arizona,” said he in a statement.

Haaland, 60, was named Head of the Home Office by President Joe Biden in December. The huge agency oversees most of the Native American agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which an Arizona Republic investigation found their students had failed for years.

Haaland was often intensely informed for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday by Senators on the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee about her stance on fossil fuel extraction, environmental policies, and other policies that she would pursue in her role as head of the sprawling agency, harassed.

The Department of the Interior monitors approximately 20% of all land in the US, coastal waters and areas, the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation, along with Indian and other agencies.

Haaland has found strong support from Native American, Alaskan, islanders in the Pacific, and other indigenous peoples, as well as many environmental groups.

Strong support: Locals send “Prayers, Protections and Congratulations” for Deb Haaland

Arizona tribal and community leaders have also spoken out in favor of Haaland.

The Arizona Indigenous People’s Caucus, which includes all six members of the Arizona Legislature who are tribal members or have tribal inheritance, issued a statement on Feb.23 demanding Haaland’s endorsement.

“Congressman Haaland is familiar with government policies such as the forced removal of thousands of local children from their families between 1860 and 1978,” the letter said. Haaland’s grandmother was sent to a Catholic boarding school for five years when she was 8 years old.

“The life experiences of Congressman Haaland make them uniquely suited to managing the priorities of protecting our natural resources for generations to come and protecting the economic well-being of communities that depend on our natural resources for livelihoods,” the group wrote. They also said Haaland understands the disproportionate impact of climate change on indigenous communities.

In a letter to Kelly, Shan Lewis, vice chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona said: “The tribal leaders understand the vital role of the Home Secretary in conducting the relationship of trust between the United States fully recognized nationwide Indian tribes. “The association represents 21 of the 22 tribes in Arizona.

The only tribe that is not a member of the association, the Navajo Nation, sent its own letter of support.

“Representative Deb Haaland has demonstrated outstanding leadership on key issues central to the US Department of the Interior’s mission – protecting people, public land, and economic opportunity,” despite having faced difficulties such as raising a child alone and raising the state Public relations support has overcome servants, wrote Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer.

“She shows the resilience, character and extraordinary energy required to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior,” they said.

Rep. Deb Haaland, DN.M., will be sworn in ahead of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on her appointment as Secretary of the Interior on February 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill, Washington.

Several other tribes also sent letters to Kelly asking him to confirm Haaland.

Traci Morris, executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University, wrote about the historic nomination on The Conversation website.

“Indian Country has a significant history with the Home Office that has been bad more than good,” wrote Morris, a member of the Chickasaw Nation. “But Haaland’s records show that she is determined to make progress on bigger challenges that affect all Americans. She has particularly advocated climate, environmental protection, public land and natural resource management. “

Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor of the Gila River Indian Community, changed his Facebook profile picture to one of him and Haaland.

“Make history today! Confirmation hearing from Cong. Deb Haaland as Home Secretary, ”wrote Lewis. “I urge ALL Senators to ratify Deb so that the entire Indian country has a strong federal partner! #BeFierce #DebforInterior #romeroartprojects ”

Dawnafe Whitesinger, head of Navajo County, the first White Mountain Apache elected to office, posted on Facebook: “The hearing for Congressman Deb Haaland will continue tomorrow, then the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will have until April 2. March time to confirm it. It’s more important than ever to contact your senators to tell them to support #DebForInterior. ”

Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who hosted this week’s hearings, also said he would vote for confirmation.

“While we do not agree on all issues, she reiterated her strong commitment to bipartisanism by responding to the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence,” he said.

Manchin, known as the top fossil fuel proponent on the Senate Democratic side, said in a statement, “I believe Deb Haaland will be a home secretary for every American and vote to endorse it.”

Debra Krol covers topics related to indigenous communities in Arizona and the Intermountain West. Reach the reporter at [email protected] or at 602-444-8490. Follow her on Twitter at @debkrol.

Reporting on indigenous topics at the interface of climate, culture and trade is supported by the Catena Foundation and the Water Funder Initiative.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to today.

Comments are closed.