Indian Country and Beyond Celebrates U.S. Representative Deb Haaland’s Confirmation as New Secretary of the Interior

Native Business Magazine founders and publishers, Gary and Carmen Davis, are pictured with Deb Haaland who was recently confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of the Interior.  

March 16, 2021 – In a historic first, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Debra Haaland (D-N.M.) on March 15, 2021, as President Biden’s secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, making the second-term Democrat the first ever Native American to be a member of a White House Cabinet in U.S. History.

In this role, Secretary Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, will oversee 70,000 employees and the country’s natural resources. The Department manages nearly 500 million acres of land, and notably, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education.

“We congratulate Secretary Haaland on her historic confirmation,” said Carmen and Gary Davis, the Founders and Publishers of Native Business Magazine. “We hope to see the Department of the Interior continue to work towards regular and meaningful nation-to-nation consultation with Tribal Governments, and serve as a model to other departments within the Federal Government, on recognizing and respecting sovereignty and the United State’s important trust responsibility to Indigenous Nations.”

Voices from across Indian Country continue to celebrate the confirmation of Secretary Haaland.

“The confirmation of Deb Haaland as the United States’ first Native American Secretary of Interior represents a remarkable moment for our nation,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative. “Secretary Haaland has proven herself to be highly effective in uniting people of all backgrounds around shared purposes, and now, as Interior Secretary – her leadership will make an even more meaningful impact.” He continued, “This moment marks a historical and significant triumph for Native people and Native children in particular. Deb Halaand’s confirmation is an inspiration for current and future generations of Native people who will now see a Native person represented at the highest level of U.S. government.”

“The Native American Contractors Association (NACA) congratulates Rep. Deb Haaland on her historic confirmation as the United States Secretary of the Interior. As the first Native American Cabinet Secretary and the leader of the Department that oversees public lands and honoring America’s treaties with Indigenous peoples, Secretary Haaland will have a tremendous opportunity to continue advocating for Native Country, including strengthening the relationship between the federal government and Native American businesses. NACA looks forward to working with Secretary Haaland and all agencies to preserve and enhance the rights of Native enterprises,” said Joe Valandra, Executive Director of NACA.

“The confirmation of Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior is a major shift in power,” said Krystal Two Bulls, NDN Collective’s Director of the LANDBACK Campaign. “We are well beyond the time for Indigenous Peoples to reclaim our responsibilities as the original caretakers of the land. Our campaign aims to reclaim Indigenous Lands, starting with public lands. With an Indigenous woman as Secretary of the Interior, our vision and agenda for LANDBACK is closer than ever — and our languages, ceremony, culture, education, health, and food systems will be better preserved.

California legislative leaders have hailed Secretary Haaland’s confirmation and likened it to ‘a bridge to a new era’.

Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland), chair of the California Native American Legislative Caucus, a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe and the first California Native American elected the Legislature, said, “I congratulate Secretary Haaland on her historic confirmation and applaud President Biden for this successful groundbreaking appointment. Native Americans across the nation can now look forward to more inclusive participation in the federal agencies and departments that affect us in so many ways—from health care access and education to protections of our culture and sacred lands. A chasm of distrust has existed over the centuries between American Indians and the federal government. [On March 15, 2021], construction began on a bridge to a new era. The appointment of a Native American as Interior secretary is a milestone I wasn’t sure would happen in my lifetime. Indian Country wishes her every success as we cheer her achievement with pride and hope.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) stated, “I congratulate Secretary Haaland upon her confirmation. Her appointment is historic, and as speaker of the California Assembly I look forward to a strong partnership in confronting the challenges we face in protecting our environment and transitioning to a cleaner, more inclusive economic future for California and the nation.”

State Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, said, “The California Latino Legislative Caucus applauds the confirmation of Deb Haaland as our country’s new Interior secretary and the first Native American cabinet secretary. She is representative of so many strong female leaders of color who found our voice speaking out on behalf of our communities. Secretary Haaland’s appointment is one more step in building a truly inclusive country, and we wish her every success as she leads our nation’s Department of the Interior.”

Secretary Haaland originally made history in 2018 when she was one of the two first female Native Americans elected to Congress.

Carmen Davis

Carmen Davis

Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American owned and operated national print and digital tribal business publication, Native Business, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.

Mrs. Davis is also president of Davis Strategy Group has over 23 years of service to Indian Country and as an entrepreneur she has successfully established, operated, managed and grown several businesses in multiple sectors. She is equal parts a strategic visionary and behind-the-scenes implementor, essential in guiding and overseeing every process of brand development, business expansion, nation-to-nation relationship building and more.

She was named in 2009 as one of the first recipients of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community and business leaders from across Indian Country.

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