- Albert Bender of Nashville is a Cherokee activist, journalist and creator of “Native American Wisdom.” Email him at email@example.com.
The Native neighborhood of Nashville, with others throughout the state, together with 1000’s of different Indigenous communities, celebrated the swearing in of Deb Haaland, a staunch Native American advocate, as Secretary of the Interior, DOI, on March 18.
It is actually historic and it is with nice optimism we see an Indigenous individual head up an company that traditionally was an instrument of utter genocide in its inception.
Secretary of the Department of the Interior Alexander H. H. Stuart wrote in his company Report of 1851 in reference to U.S. Native individuals: “The only alternatives left are to civilize or exterminate.”
Stuart foresaw the destiny of Native Americans as cultural genocide or outright bodily slaughter and he was a Cabinet official.
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Deb Haaland is the ladies for the job
Haaland is a Native American of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe in New Mexico. The Laguna Pueblo is a tribal nation with its origins stretching again 1000’s of years, since time immemorial within the Southwest. It is situated 45 miles west of Albuquerque and consists of over 7,000 members.
Haaland has an abundance of accomplishments together with a Juris Doctorate in Indian Law from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Together with Sharice Davids of the Ho-Chunk Nation, she is one of the primary two Indigenous girls elected to the U.S. Congress. Haaland is additionally the primary Native American is U.S. historical past to carry a cupboard place and of an company that at one time noticed as its process the extermination of Native Americans.
As Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Haaland will oversee tens of millions of acres of federal land and shoreline—the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and 55 million acres of Tribal land, which incorporates Choctaw land in West Tennessee.
In its 171 12 months historical past, the DOI regardless of its impression on nearly each half of on a regular basis life for Indigenous individuals and Tribal communities, has solely been lead by white individuals till now.
Native supporters labored collectively in communities throughout Indian nation in organizations and with allies launched a huge marketing campaign for Haaland. This marketing campaign mobilized a juggernaut of public assist for Haaland’s affirmation, urging residents of all stripes to contact their senators to assist her nomination. This was a great success.
Haaland’s affirmation is so empowering to Indigenous folks that she is referred to in some Native circles because the Pueblo Laguna Superhero.
A brand new period of progress for Native Americans
The new “fierce” warrior Cabinet Secretary promptly hit the bottom operating with a determination rolling again a Trump administrative opinion that gave away Native mineral rights to North Dakota. This racist opinion held that the part of the Missouri River flowing by the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation- the land of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, MHA, Nation- belonged to the state of North Dakota, however, federal regulation for a long time which held that the Missouri riverbed belonged to the MHA Nation.
The Trump opinion was clearly in violation of tribal sovereignty that the Biden administration has sworn to uphold. This is just the start of a rollback of different Trump inanities.
Haaland is off to a nice begin in throwing down the gauntlet within the 500-year outdated Native battle for justice.
Our new Secretary of the Interior has the unwavering confidence and assist of Indian nation and its allies. Remember, what is good for Native America is good for all of America.
Albert Bender of Nashville is a Cherokee activist, journalist and creator of “Native American Wisdom.” Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.