Congresswoman Debra Haaland on the Verge of Making History as Secretary of Interior

Published on Mar 04, 2021

Today the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources favorably reported the nomination of Congresswoman Debra Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna) to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. When she is confirmed by the full Senate, Congresswoman Haaland will become the first-ever tribal citizen to serve in the capacity of Cabinet secretary.

“Today’s vote takes us one step closer to Congresswoman Haaland’s historic confirmation. It is fitting that while we celebrate Women’s History Month, Deb Haaland is poised to make it,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “We need Congresswoman Haaland on the job without delay. The nation needs her leadership and vision to help lead our response to climate change, to steward our lands and cultural resources, and to ensure that across the federal government, the United States lives up to its trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations and our citizens.”

The Department of the Interior has vast responsibilities including management of public lands, water resources, minerals, wildlife management, and cultural heritage preservation, and it is critically entrusted with upholding the federal trust and treaty responsibilities to 574 tribal nations and more than 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The day-to-day decisions of the Interior Department impact all aspects of tribal sovereignty and self-governance, from education to economic development to law enforcement. As a result of this unique fiduciary obligation to tribal nations, it is critical that Interior employees and leadership reflect the communities the department serves.

In November 2020, NCAI passed resolution #PDX-20-059 supporting the appointment of a Native American as Secretary of the Interior.


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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