Today, the Senate confirmed Rep. Deb Haaland of Laguna Pueblo to lead the Department of the Interior, marking the first time an Indigenous person will lead the federal government’s relations with Native tribes and public lands, as well as the first Indigenous Cabinet Secretary. The confirmation comes after Sunrise Movement partnered with Indigenous movement groups immediately following Biden’s win to campaign for Haaland as a front-runner for the role, and the eventual nominee. It also follows a long, cruel and obstructive fight waged by Republicans against her nomination, in which progressive groups came out victorious.
“We are thrilled that Secretary Deb Haaland was confirmed to the Presidential Cabinet, and that President Biden listened to the Indigenous movement groups and allies that pushed for her confirmation, despite the Senate Republican’s unfair, aggressive campaign against her,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement. “Secretary Haaland is not only one of the first co-sponsors of the Green New Deal, but she believes that achieving Indigenous sovereignty over stolen land is instrumental to transforming our economy and stopping the climate crisis. Now, she must wield her power to crack down on fossil fuel corporations and evict companies that drill for oil on public lands and in public waters. We are excited to see the progress she makes and will be standing with her as she pushes us closer to the vision of a Green New Deal.”
This historic confirmation could not have been possible without the hard work of tribes, native leaders, Sunrise’s partners like the NDN Collective and Indigenous Environmental Network, and every young person who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and elected leaders on a bold climate mandate.
What Sunrise Movement did to back #DebForInterior:
Creative Campaign: Since Biden’s election win, Sunrise Movement immediately began a campaign to push Biden to appoint a cabinet that looked like America and that would be able to deliver on his bold climate agenda. Sunrise created a “Climate Mandate” campaign, with a website, video, and creative communications to mobilize their supporters behind a slate of candidates for major cabinet positions. Deb Haaland was not only featured in the premier video launch but was highlighted first on the website. Sunrise movement even produced videos allowing Deb to share the story of her people.
Letter to Senator Udall: On December 10th, Sunrise Movement joined NDN Collective, Justice Democrats, and Data for Progress in sending a letter to Senator Udall, asking him to heed the call of Native leaders and support Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. These groups represent a cross-section of the broader Indigenous, youth, climate justice, and progressive movement, which has overwhelmingly coalesced to support Representative Deb Haaland for the next Secretary of the Interior. This letter generatedmediaattention and helped solidify Deb as a front-runner for the role.