Haaland says Biden will be 'breath of fresh air' on Native American issues

Haaland says Biden will be 'breath of fresh air' on Native American issues
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet MORE (D-N.M.) said Thursday that the Biden administration will be a "breath of fresh air" compared to the Trump administration when it comes to issues like including Native American communities when making policy decisions.

Speaking at The Hill’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit, Haaland, who in 2018 became one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress, said she trusts that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE will not “make decisions that affect Indian country without talking to them first.”

Haaland could soon find herself being part of that decision making process. She is seen as a top contender for secretary of the Interior, an agency that works extensively on Native American issues.


If nominated and confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet post.

She told The Hill's Steve Clemons on Thursday that having Native American representation in public office is a key step to addressing issues affecting the community.

“I think that’s going to help make sure that our voices are heard on every level and that’s what needs to happen,” she said at the event sponsored by the International Franchise Association, the National Association of Realtors and Qualcomm. “We need representation at the table where decisions are being made so that people have a voice."

Haaland also stressed the importance of consistent legislation that focuses on issues affecting the Native American community, such as violence against Native American women and protection of tribal lands.

“When you have an issue or crisis that’s been manifesting itself for 500 years, it’s going to take more than one or two pieces of legislation to remedy it,” she said.