Haaland sworn in wearing traditional Native American skirt, moccasins
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday was sworn in while wearing a traditional Native American skirt and moccasins in a nod to her heritage.
Haaland was wearing the garb while she became the first Native American to be sworn in as a Cabinet secretary.
In photos from the ceremony earlier on Thursday, Haaland could be seen standing with her family as she was sworn in to office by Vice President Harris.
Harris earlier this year became the first Black American, Asian American and first woman to assume the second highest office in the nation.
Haaland, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe, wore a ribbon skirt designed by fashion brand ReeCreeations. According to Vogue magazine, the traditional skirt is worn during special occasions in a number of Indigenous tribes.
In an Instagram post on Thursday afternoon, the designer behind the skirt said she felt “proud” to have contributed to Haaland’s historic ceremony and that she felt “seen” by the new secretary.
“The ribbon skirt reminds us of the matriarchal power we carry as Indigenous women,” she wrote, while also adding that “wearing it in this day and age is an act of self empowerment and reclamation of who we are and that gives us the opportunity to proudly make bold statements in front of others who sometimes refuse to see us.”
Excitement also spread online around footage that surfaced earlier in the day showing Haaland putting on a pair of moccasins in the morning ahead of the swearing-in ceremony. One video of the moment has racked up more than 135,000 views in a matter of hours.
Secretary Haaland putting on her moccasins this morning before her swearing in. pic.twitter.com/nEB1OkenFC
— Michael Li 李之樸 (@mcpli) March 18, 2021
Haaland’s swearing-in ceremony came just days after the Senate voted 51-40 to confirm her to head up the Interior Department.
Haaland’s nomination was widely pushed by progressives after she voiced support for policies like the Green New Deal, her positions on fracking and past involvement in a protest opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The secretary said in a tweet on Thursday that she was “honored and ready to work” in the new position.
“I look forward to tackling some of the nation’s most pressing issues with @Interior so that future generations can enjoy our public lands and waters for years to come,” she added.
Thank you @POTUS Biden and @VP Harris. I am honored and ready to work. I look forward to tackling some of the nation’s most pressing issues with @Interior so that future generations can enjoy our public lands and waters for years to come. pic.twitter.com/pONJgAlwk2
— Secretary Deb Haaland (@SecDebHaaland) March 18, 2021
Prior to her nomination, Haaland served in the House, representing New Mexico. Haaland, who was first elected to the seat in 2018, had also been one the nation’s first two Native American women to be sent to Congress in that election cycle.
During her swearing-in ceremony in January 2019, the then-congresswoman also drew widespread attention for wearing a traditional Pueblo dress.