Why Rep. Deb Haaland’s Nomination To Lead Interior Department Is Groundbreaking for Indigenous Population

Indigenizing the News’ Meghanlata Gupta on the impact of Rep. Deb Haaland potentially being the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

Rep. Deb Haaland has been nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior. While some GOP senators have been trying to block the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he’s confident she will be confirmed.

“Education is tied to every aspect of this. [Rep. Deb] Haaland will be leading the Interior Department but it’s also about educating the public about native people.”  — Meghanlata Gupta, Founder of Indigenizing the News

If and when that happens, Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet member of any agency and the first Indigenous secretary of the Department of the Interior. It’s a deeply historic moment for tribal nations that carry an ancestral legacy of being disempowered and disenfranchised by the federal government.

Listen: Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s nomination is historic first for Native Americans.


Meghanlata Gupta is a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and founder of Indigenizing the News, a digital news source dedicated to educating non-Native allies about Native nations, cultures, issues and knowledge systems. When it comes to pipelines and fossil fuels on tribal land, Gupta says that she believes that Haaland understands and connects with native peoples on this where others may not. “Tribes need to be consulted and listened to,” she says.

Gupta says understanding the deeper context and culture of Native Americans and who they are is something that is missing for many non-native people people living in the United States today. “Education is tied to every aspect of this. Haaland will be leading the Interior Department but it’s also about educating the public about native people. We have a long way to go in improving education for Indigenous people,” says Gupta.

Web story written by Allise Hurd

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