Tewa Women United’s Statement on Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s Nomination as Secretary of the Interior Department

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo and 35th generation New Mexican, is set to become the first Native American member of the Cabinet as President Biden’s nominee to head the Department of the Interior. The final confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate is scheduled for Monday, March 15, 2021.

Haaland’s nomination to this position is extraordinary for many reasons, and particularly significant to Native communities. As Secretary of the Interior, she will be in charge of the government department that oversees 500 million acres of public lands, as well as manages national parks, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Dr. Corrine Sanchez, executive director of Tewa Women United, said,

“This is a powerful moment for Indian Country, and in particular for us as Indigenous women and girls from the Pueblo communities in New Mexico, to have a woman in this position for the first time ever — someone who looks like us, shares our values, our perspective our voice, and our connection to the land, understanding the importance of what the Earth means to us as far as our cultural and spiritual existence as Native people.”

As a longtime advocate for clean water with a stellar bipartisan record, Congresswoman Haaland will listen to science, be guided by her Pueblo communities’ core values and her lived experience as a Pueblo woman to ensure the Interior Department fulfils its obligation to the public by protecting our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. As the first Indigenous cabinet Secretary, she will be a passionate champion for environmental justice and will fight to ensure access to clean water is not dependent on where you live.

Tewa Women United believes it is imperative that the Senate act quickly to approve Congresswoman Haaland’s historic nomination to ensure the Department has a permanent leader to fulfill its mission, implement the widely-supported Biden-Harris plan, and protect our public lands for future generations.  

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ABOUT TEWA WOMEN UNITED: Tewa Women United (TWU), founded in 1989, is a collective inter-tribal women’s voice in the Tewa homelands of Northern New Mexico. TWU’s mission is to provide a brave space for Indigenous women to uncover the power, strength, and skills they possess to become positive forces for social change in their families and communities. For more information, visit: www.tewawomenunited.org.