Deb Haaland

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Deb Haaland

Debra Anne Haaland (/ˈhɑːlənd/; born December 2, 1960) is an American politician serving as the 54th United States Secretary of the Interior. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017 and as the U.S. representative for New Mexico's 1st congressional district from 2019 to 2021. Haaland is a Native American and enrolled citizen of the Laguna Pueblo tribe.


  • For more than a century, tens of thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their communities and forced into boarding schools run by the U.S. government, specifically the Department of the Interior, and religious institutions. … When my maternal grandparents were only 8 years old, they were stolen from their parents’ culture and communities and forced to live in boarding schools until the age of 13. Many children like them never made it back to their homes. … The federal policies that attempted to wipe out Native identity, language and culture continue to manifest in the pain tribal communities face today, including cycles of violence and abuse, disappearance of Indigenous people, premature deaths, poverty and loss of wealth, mental health disorders and substance abuse. Recognizing the impacts of the federal Indian boarding school system cannot just be a historical reckoning. We must also chart a path forward to deal with these legacy issues. …The fact that I am standing here today as the first Indigenous cabinet secretary is testament to the strength and determination of Native people. I am here because my ancestors persevered. I stand on the shoulders of my grandmother and my mother. And the work we will do with the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative will have a transformational impact on the generations who follow.
  • Seventy years ago, Native Americans right here in New Mexico couldn’t vote. Can you believe that? Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household and as a 35th-generation New Mexican, I never imagined a world where I would be represented by someone who looks like me. Tonight, New Mexico, you are sending one of the very first Native American women to Congress!
    • Speech on 11/6/2018, cited here

Interview with Democracy Now (May 2019)

  • There is too much inequity in our country, in our world. And I think it’s time for the big corporations to make right with workers.
  • I came here to fight for working families, and that’s what I’m doing
  • It is so unfair that the big executives can make that much money when there are people that can’t afford to buy groceries. It is fundamentally unfair. It isn’t right. They don’t have a conscience. And they need to pay up.

Interview with Democracy Now (November 2018)

  • At last, we do have Native women representation in Congress.
  • Our country has a trust responsibility to Indian tribes, and it seems like their voice has been lacking in so many conversations that we’ve had in this country. And so, I’d like to make sure that tribal leaders have that seat at the table.
  • New Mexico has over 310 days of sun per year. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be a global leader in renewable energy right now.
  • we weren’t citizens until 1924 here in New Mexico. They couldn’t—Indians couldn’t vote until 1948, when a member of the Isleta Pueblo sued the state of New Mexico after he came back from World War II and couldn’t vote.
  • it seems like any opportunity the Republicans have to oppress voters, they do that.

Quotes about Deb Haaland

  • I think it’s important to point out that Deb Haaland is — I think she’s been in this position for just over a year now. And one year, you know, in the face of a century and a half of genocidal Indian policy, isn’t that much, when we think about how history unfolds.
  • I have confidence that she is the right person for the job. She is from New Mexico. She has shown deep commitments to protecting Chaco Canyon from further exploitation, and as we know the Southwest has been considered a sacrifice zone. There is a lot of uranium contamination still there, and they want to open it back up for uranium mining and oil and gas extraction. She has been very, very staunchly against it. I think she is the right person for that position to protect lands, but it remains to be seen how much the structure and the political system will hamper her ability to work collaboratively across the aisle as someone in a Cabinet-level position.
  • Deb Haaland campaigned on progressive issues, including climate change, renewable energy, universal healthcare and a $15 minimum wage.
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