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Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland

Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland
© Global Indigenous Council

Indigenous groups are putting pressure on senators with billboards posted in multiple states urging them to confirm Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandNixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice Haaland return sets up Biden decision on Utah national monuments shrunk by Trump MORE (D-N.M.) to lead the Interior Department.

The billboards have gone up in West Virginia, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota, home of Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (D), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows As Congress considers infrastructure, don't forget rural America MORE (R), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesTrump faces test of power with early endorsements OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum MORE (R) and Mike RoundsMike RoundsCongress looks to rein in Biden's war powers Columbine and the era of the mass shooter, two decades on GOP senator tweets statue of himself holding gun to Biden: 'Come and take it' MORE (R), respectively. Daines in particular has been one of Haaland’s most vocal opponents. 

The black and white billboards show images of Haaland and say “The First People to receive this land, the last to receive the vote” and “Our First Secretary of the Interior, Support Rep. Deb Haaland.”

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Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary, and oversee a department with significant responsibilities to the tribes. 

The advertisements were put up by the Global Indigenous Council (GIC) and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council. 

Tom Rodgers, president of the GIC, said he did not like how many of the senators treated Haaland during the hearing, and he wanted the billboards to be a lesson. He added that others, like Manchin, were courteous, so his billboard, which went up before he announced his support for Haaland, served a slightly different purpose. 

“For the senators who’ve either by their behavior or their questions or their statements have indicated their opposition to Deb, that is to teach them a teachable moment for history,” Rodgers said. 

Senators grilled Haaland on a series of issues including her energy stances, as well as a tweet saying that Republicans don't believe in science. 

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Asked about the billboards, Barrasso said that Haaland did not sufficiently answer questions during the hearing. 

“Rep. Haaland struggled to answer or refused to answer the basic questions any nominee for the Department of Interior would be expected to answer. My constituents deserve straight answers from the potential secretary about the law, and the rules and regulations that will affect their lives and their future livelihoods,” he said. 

Daines spokesperson Katie Schoettler said in an email that the senator “respects the feedback from all Montanans.”

"He has a strong relationship with Montana's tribes, including fighting to help settle a century long water dispute, championing Tribal inclusion in COVID funding, as well as being instrumental in getting Tribal recognition for Montana's Little Shell Tribe,” Schoettler said. “The Senator's opposition to Rep. Haaland is about the Congresswoman’s ideological agenda that will hurt the Montana way of life and kill Montana jobs.”

She also noted that some local leaders in the state have expressed opposition to the nomination.

Some of Haaland’s opponents have sought to portray her as “radical,” invoking stances she has such as opposing a controversial oil and gas extraction method called fracking. Haaland stressed that she’ll be implementing President BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE’s agenda and not her own. 

“When I saw statements calling her radical and they were disrespecting her ... trying to make her an out of control woman, that was wrong,” Rodgers said.