In Historic Moment for Tribal Nations, President-Elect Biden Nominates Deb Haaland to Serve as Secretary of the Interior

Published on Dec 17, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. | Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced that United States Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM), an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is his nominee for Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. During her service in Congress, Representative Haaland has been a steadfast advocate for Indian Country and has advanced critical legislation on key issues, including tribal water infrastructure, climate resiliency, job growth, and broadband deployment.

“During NCAI’s most recent Annual Convention, our membership adopted PDX-20-059, a resolution calling for the appointment of a Native American to the position of Secretary of the Interior. Today, all of Indian Country celebrates an incredible and historic milestone,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “The centuries of invisibility of American Indian and Alaska Native people are fading as our best and brightest emerge into prominent positions of leadership. Like all Native people, Representative Haaland possesses a centuries-old tie and reverence for the beautiful and sacred landscape of this country that was gifted to our ancestors when time began. She will no doubt work hard every day to ensure federal lands continue to be managed in a way that ensures many more generations to come will experience and know America’s beauty and timeless legacy.”

NCAI congratulates Congresswoman Haaland on her nomination and applauds President-elect Joe Biden for appointing the first Native American woman to serve in a Cabinet-level position. We celebrate with Indian Country on this momentous step forward, and we are confident that Congresswoman Haaland will carry out the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to tribal nations in a manner that meets the most pressing priorities in Indian Country. We look forward to working with the Department of the Interior to support meaningful government-to-government engagement with tribal nations on advancing Indian Country’s needs.


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit

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