NM congresswoman poised to become the first Native American to serve as Secretary of the Interior

New Mexico

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Wednesday, U.S. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, is expected to be confirmed as the first Native American woman to become the Secretary of the Interior.

Haaland is currently the U.S. representative for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, which includes most of Albuquerque.

She was nominated by President Joe Biden to head of the Department of the Interior in December 2020. Her confirmation hearing started Tuesday and will continue Wednesday.

Her confirmation will not only be historic for the Native American community but especially for young Indigenous women who will now be able to see themselves represented in the highest levels of government.

Native American tribes across the country are celebrating Haaland’s nomination that gives hope in progressing Indigenous Peoples’ communities.

“It’s an opportunity for the tribes to have direct contact with someone who understands and knows about this legal relationship between the United States government and the Indian tribes,” said Donald Pepion, an anthropology professor in the Department of Native American Studies at New Mexico State University.

He said that Haaland has already shown her interest in the preservation of natural resources and efforts to tackle the issue of numerous murdered and missing Indigenous women.

“It’s an opportunity to get rid of these myths and stereotypes that young Native American people’s way is paid for,” added Pepion.

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