Tribe celebrates Interior Secretary nomination


Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico and a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna was announced as President-Elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior. Haaland’s nomination marks a historic milestone in U.S. history as she will be the first Native American to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior and hold a Cabinet-level position once confirmed.

The Department of the Interior, one of the largest federal agencies, has oversight over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education and is responsible with the execution of key parts of the trust obligation to Tribal Nations, historic preservation, and the management of a majority of federal lands. It also conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.

“The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians offers our most heartfelt congratulations to Congresswoman Haaland on this historic nomination,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “I have had the opportunity to meet Congresswoman Haaland in Washington D.C. and I know with her depth of knowledge, experience and background she will be a fierce advocate for tribal communities and all indigenous people. She will lead with care, passion and a deep understanding of native issues while ensuring Tribal Nations are represented at the highest levels of federal government.

“I am grateful to President-Elect Biden for this show of respect and commitment to Indian Country and once confirmed I look forward to working with Secretary Haaland and her team,” Ben continued. 

President-Elect Biden will hold an announcement event this Saturday, December 19, 2020, at 1:30 PM Central Standard Time. Biden and Vice-President Elect Harris will announce key climate and energy team nominees and appointees including the Interior Secretary appointment. The event will be livestreamed at the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Twitter page. Once confirmed Haaland will serve as the Nation’s 54th Secretary of the Interior.

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