LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE REPORT: Cherokee and Chickasaw representatives support Haaland’s nomination for her bipartisan approach and experience.
Hearings on New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland’s Interior Secretary nomination will continue in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at 10 a.m. (EST) Wednesday.
The committee adjourned at noon Monday after the representative fielded questions from committee members for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning.
Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young introduced Haaland at the hearing by saying she is someone who can work in a bipartisan way.
“I think she is a friend and as a member of this administration she’ll do a good job. She’ll work for us, and she’ll reach across the aisle,” Young said.
However, she faced sometimes tense questioning from other Republicans over her stances and past social media posts regarding natural resource development and economic impacts.
As a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland would be the first Native American cabinet secretary. In her opening statements she noted that milestone but said it does not belong solely to her.
“The historic nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say, it is not about me. Rather, I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans — moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us,” she said.S
Speaking with Public News Service, representatives of Oklahoma tribes have lauded the representative for your background and experience and bringing a bipartisan view to the lead the Interior Department.
Kimberly Teehee, director of government relations and the delegate to the U.S. House for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, praised Haaland for her conservation legacy, and for working with a diverse group of interests.
“She is very familiar with working with various stakeholders,” Teehee told PNS reporters, “the outdoor recreation groups, the conservation groups, the tribes, the local communities, etc. And so, she knows how to pull in stakeholders, and she knows how to collaborate.”
Haaland has also made conservation a priority while in Congress. She helped pass public lands legislation, including the Great American Outdoors Act and America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.
Stephen Greetham, senior counsel for the Chickasaw Nation in south-central Oklahoma, taught Haaland while she was a student in law school at the University of New Mexico.
“We live in polarized, difficult times,” Greetham told PNS. “And Deb is someone who can bring a powerful and passionate voice to issues, while still being able to work with folks that don’t look at the world in the same way she does. And that’s just a rare and wonderful thing in these times.”
Teehee added Haaland’s experiences, including living in poverty and being a single parent, are important for the cabinet-level job.
“She’s had to pull herself up by the bootstraps,” said Teehee, “She’s been an organizer on the local level. She knows how to coordinate. She knows how to make the most out of little resources. She’s bringing to that position what Native Americans face day-to-day.