Women’s letter of support for Rep. Deb Haaland for Interior

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Women’s letter of support for Rep. Deb Haaland for Interior was released December 10, 2020.

Dear President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris,

Congratulations on your historic victory. As women who have worked to protect our democracy and advance the promise of this country, we are hopeful and relieved that you will be leading us into a bright future. It is in this spirit that we, Native American women and Indigenous peoples’ allies, write to urge you to appoint Congresswoman Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

We are alive at a time when each of our actions will determine the fate of the natural world, which we call Mother Earth. We call her Mother because without her life would not exist. The life support system that she provides, which is also called the climate, is now under terrible strain. Fortunately despite all of the struggles we have endured, Native people hold a sacred connection to the natural world at the moment when the human species need it most. The Department of Interior will play a critical role in your Administration to both address the climate crisis and to honor the Indigenous people of this country.

As President-elect Biden, you have said that you will be “an ally of the light not the darkness,” and Vice President-elect Harris, you have said that Native Americans will always have a seat at the table, especially when it comes to Mother Earth because we are “the Original Peoples of this land who always knew that we have to protect Mother Earth, we have to be smart about it and we must take your lead.” We believe it is critical at this time for the first Native American to serve in the President’s Cabinet, so we can begin to shift the focus back to caring for future generations and returning to a value system that honors Mother Earth. We believe that person is Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

As a Native woman, Congresswoman Haaland has endured many challenges like so many of us. She grew up in a military family where both of her parents served this country. She worked her way through college and law school as a single mother. Rep. Haaland sought to live a life of service and worked for her people at the Laguna Pueblo. She sought to create change as the Chairwoman of the State Democratic Party of New Mexico. As a member of Congress, she overcame the intense polarization in Congress and passed four bills into law with bipartisan and bicameral support including the “Not Invisible Act” and the “Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act” both of which addresses the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Congresswoman Haaland was also instrumental in securing $8 billion for Tribal Nations within the Coronavirus Relief Fund section of the CARES Act. She is Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Department of the Interior, and Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands, and on the House Armed Services Committee. In these roles, she has been a tremendous leader and has worked on numerous bills of significance that have been signed into law.

We strongly urge you to appoint Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior. Rep. Haaland will be a strong steward of our precious natural resources and will return to the practice of science-based decision-making. Additionally, she will work to honor the treaties between the federal government and Tribal Nations. This is an historic opportunity to appoint a Native woman of integrity, vision and of true public service.

Thank you for your consideration.