The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
Monday, 15 March 2021 18:42

First Native American named to lead Department of the Interior

NYT: Interior Secretary first Native American to hold vital post

The Senate on March 16 confirmed the first Native American director of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico. 

She will head the Interior Department, a sprawling yet vitally important bureaucracy that oversees government management of federal land, including the National Park Service, which oversees Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Indian lands such as those occupied by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, and a vast federal collection of the best of the rest of America from coast to coast.
That’s just a sample of the upcoming responsibilities faced by Haaland, who was one of the first Native American women elected to Congress.
Here’s some of the story from the New York Times:

“… her new position is particularly redolent of history because the department she now leads has spent much of its history abusing or neglecting America’s Indigenous people.

“Beyond the Interior Department’s responsibility for the well-being of the nation’s 1.9 million Native people, it oversees about 500 million acres of public land, federal waters off the United States coastline, a huge system of dams and reservoirs across the Western United States and the protection of thousands of endangered species.”