Congress Approves First Native American To Head Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs

It's A First! Native American Woman, Deb Haaland of the Pueblo Nation, Chosen To Supervise Federal Agencies That Heavily Impact Alaska D...

It's A First!

Native American Woman, Deb Haaland of the Pueblo Nation, Chosen To Supervise Federal Agencies That Heavily Impact Alaska

Deb Haaland (Photo, Wikipedia) 

In a major victory for Native American rights, a Pueblo Native American has been approved by Congress to lead the Department of the Interior, which manages many aspects of the federal government's interactions with America's indigenous people.

President Joe Biden nominated Deb Haaland, of New Mexico, to be the first Native American to oversee the U.S. Department of The Interior, which has enormous impact on Natives. 

Her nomination was confirmed Monday, March 15th, 2021, in a vote of 51-40. Both of Alaska's U.S. Senators – Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski – voted in favor. Alaska is a heavily Native American state. Altogether there are over 550 federally recognized tribes in the United States. There are 231 Native tribes in Alaska, and 18% of Alaska's total population is Native American at this time. 

The confirmation of Deb Haaland, a freshman Congressional representative, makes history. Haaland was one of the first of two Native Americans elected to Congress two years ago.  

The Interior Department has a long, even controversial history involving land use and Native Americans. It has around 70,000 employees and has never been run by an actual Native American. 

The Department of Interior, with its specific Native-tied bureaus, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, as well as BLM and the National Park Service, is highly relevant to daily life for every Alaskan.

The Department of Interior is in charge of:
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Education
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Bureau of Reclamation
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Bureau of Trust Funds Administration
National Park Service
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
U.S. Fish & Wildlife
U.S. Geological Survey  


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