, , , , , , , ,

Deb Haaland: First Indigenous nominee in the U.S.  Jim Watson/Getty Images

Back in February, President Biden made a landmark appointment to the Secretary of the Interior: Rep. Deb Haaland.

Felicia Fonseca wrote that “News of her nomination electrified Indian Country. Tribal leaders and organizations for weeks have urged people to write and call U.S. senators who will decide if she’ll lead the agency that has broad oversight over Native American affairs and energy development.”

Our Ancestor’s Dreams Come True

Felicia Fonseca reported:

To mark the event, supporters projected a picture of the New Mexico congresswoman on the side of the Interior building with text that read “Our Ancestors’ Dreams Come True.

“When Liberty saw a picture of Haaland in a traditional ribbon skirt and moccasins for Joe Biden’s inauguration, she cried. She thought about her grandmother Ethil Simmonds Liberty, who didn’t become a U.S. citizen until she was 9 despite being born in the U.S. on her tribe’s reservation that straddles Kansas and Nebraska. Her grandmother was a powerful advocate for her people, petitioning to turn a pigpen into a playground, writing letters to U.S. presidents and leading the way to get a road paved to the reservation, she said. Brandi Liberty thought about her own daughter, who she is hopeful will carry on her legacy in working with tribes and embracing their heritage.

Liberty also thought about other tribal nations and what Haaland could do in terms of moving them in the right direction and connecting them to Washington, D.C. Essentially, Liberty’s grandmother on a larger scale.

This is no different than when Obama became the first Black president and what that signified. This is a historical mark for Indian Country as a whole.

Charles P. Pierce writes,

“What makes Haaland’s nomination even more significant is the job for which she has been nominated—not merely because Interior is so deeply involved with Native affairs, but also because Native issues are so deeply involved with the land and the water and all the things that the previous administration tried to turn into a rummage sale. And also because of history. I’m willing to bet that no Cabinet nominee ever has begun an opening statement by noting:

I acknowledge that we are on the ancestral homelands of the Nakochtank, Anacostan, and Piscataway people…

Land Acknowledgement:

Since we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, and since we are interested in ongoing truth and reconciliation, and since I live on Treaty 6 Territory: 

We acknowledge ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ (Psalm 24:1)

We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional land and travelling route for the Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, Dene and Nakota Sioux. 

We recognize that the people who were here well before many of our ancestors are also made in the image of the Living God worthy of dignity and respect with whom we can share the bountiful news of Jesus and the bounty of this land.

We also recognize the past role the Church has had in the painful legacy of colonization in which it was complicit – and therefore we are mindful to be humble and repentant, open to correction and teaching in our spiritual journey. 

Since we are people who have entered into the benefits of this treaty and this land, we are dedicated to truth and reconciliation, and to renew our commitment to be ambassadors of reconciliation to the glory of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.