Deb Haaland is to become the next Secretary of the Interior. The "Washington Post" speaks of a turnaround in the government’s relationship with indigenous people.
In the Department of Homeland Security, Haaland decides, for example, whether fracking is allowed Photo: dpa
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden wants to appoint a Native American woman as a cabinet minister for the first time in U.S. history, according to media reports. Biden wants to nominate Congresswoman Deb Haaland (60) from the state of New Mexico as Secretary of the Interior, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the broadcaster CNN reported unanimously on Thursday (local time). If Haaland – who counts herself a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe – is confirmed by the Senate, the U.S. would have an American indigenous woman as secretary for the first time.
In the USA, the Department of the Interior is primarily responsible for the administration of federally owned land. The ministry decides, for example, whether nature reserves are designated or whether energy extraction such as fracking is permitted. But its responsibilities also include matters relating to the approximately 1.9 million indigenous people. Internal security – which in Europe is the responsibility of the interior ministries – is the task of the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.
The Washington Post wrote of Biden’s historic decision "marking a turning point in the U.S. government’s relationship with the nation’s indigenous peoples." Haaland was among the first two Indigenous women elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018.
There, she sits on the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Department of the Interior. Biden, a Democrat, has promised to appoint a Cabinet with ministers from diverse backgrounds.
Editor’s note: An earlier version said Deb Haaland would take over the Department of Homeland Security. This is incorrect. She was nominated to be Secretary of the Interior. We apologize for this error.