Secretary-Designee Deb Haaland’s First Virtual Meeting With Tribal Leaders

Haaland’s historic appointment makes her the first Indigenous person to serve in Cabinet

In her first meeting as Interior Secretary-designee, Deb Haaland hosted a virtual roundtable with Tribal Leaders on Monday morning. She was joined by incoming Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Cedric Richmond and incoming Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Julie Rodriguez. During the meeting, the Secretary-designee reiterated President-elect Joe Biden’s promise to Tribal Nations and indigenous communities to fully honor America’s sacred trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations. 

They also discussed how the incoming Biden-Harris Administration will work in coordination with tribal communities who bear disproportionate harm from long-running environmental injustices and are being adversely affected by the impacts of climate change on their homelands.

Secretary-designee Haaland reiterated that she shares the president-elect’s commitment to advancing environmental justice and empowering communities who have shouldered the burdens of environmental negligence. She will help implement the president-elect’s vision to turn the climate crisis into an unprecedented opportunity to create millions of good-paying union jobs across the country, power our economy with clean energy, conserve and restore our nation’s lands and waters, position the United States as an exporter of 21st century products, and make our economy stronger, more resilient, and inclusive. 

Secretary-designee Haaland noted that she looked forward to additional dialogue and discussion with Tribal Leaders and pledged that, if confirmed, she would ensure that the Interior Department engages in early, frequent, and meaningful consultation with Tribal Leaders on all decisions that affect indigenous communities.

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