“Our country holds promise for everyone”: Deb Haaland, an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings, confirmed as Secretary of the Interior – USA

Deb Haaland speaks at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the National Native American Veterans Memorial, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Paul Morigi/AP Images for Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

I carry my life experiences with me everywhere I go. It’s those experiences that give me hope for the future. If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone.

Source: Deb Haaland in “Reactions From Indian Country to Deb Haaland’s Confirmation as Secretary of the Interior” [USA] (National Museum of the American Indian, 18 March 2021)
URL: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-indian/2021/03/18/reactions-indian-country-deb-haalands-confirmation-secretary-interior/
Date Visited: 19 March 2021

On Monday evening, Debra Haaland, a 35th-generation New Mexican from the Pueblo of Laguna, became the first Native American ever to be confirmed as a Cabinet secretary. When she testified in February at her confirmation hearing, Haaland began her opening remarks by introducing herself to senators in her tribal language of Keresan. […]

She grew up in a military family and later became a single mother who struggled to stay above the poverty line. Haaland eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Mexico when she was 34. Twelve years later she earned her J.D. in Indian law from University of New Mexico School of Law. […]

The Laguna Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, is over half a million acres and home to more than 4,000 people. The Pueblo have maintained their culture, traditions and language in large part because they have never been entirely uprooted from their homeland. […]

The Pueblos’ devotion to their culture has not shielded them from the tragedies Native Americans have suffered over the centuries. […]

[T]he Pueblo once housed one of the world’s largest open uranium mines. It employed much of the reservation’s population, moving Native Americans away from traditional farming and ranching jobs while stimulating the Pueblo economy. But the mine exacted a terrible cost: it polluted reservation waters and lands, rendering areas unviable, and destroyed the health of those who worked there.

Haaland’s background endows her with a certain “empathy” on the job, especially as it relates to conservation and combating the climate crisis. […]

“This is all of our country. This is our mother. You’ve heard the earth referred to [as] ‘Mother Earth.’ It’s difficult to not feel obligated to protect this land and I feel that every Indigenous person in this country understands that,” she said.

Source: “What Deb Haaland’s historic confirmation means to Native Americans” by Cara Korte (CBC News, 15 March 15 2021)
URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/deb-haaland-native-american-confirmation-interior-secretary/
Date visited: 19 March 2021

Native people understand the relationship between nature and themselves in a distinct way. Among the world’s first environmentalists, American Indians have maintained the same special connection to the natural world for thousands of years: viewing themselves as equal with all life. […]

Native people’s ability to adapt to their surroundings has resulted in success that has affected the rest of the world. Native farmers have cultivated more than 300 food crops with many variations. In total, Native people have con­ tributed 60 percent of the crops in global cultivation. […]

Another important contribution of American Indians is the development of medicines from roots, plants, and trees. In fact, modern pharmacology (the science of drugs) began with the introduction in Europe of the medicine quinine–a Native American cure–for treating the then-deadly illness malaria. […]

Source: NATIVE PEOPLE AND THE LAND (Teaching poster, Grade levels: 6–8, Time required: Three class periods)
Address : https://americanindian.si.edu/sites/1/files/pdf/education/poster_zuni.pdf
Date Visited: 19 March 2021

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“It is no coincidence that where healthy Fourth World [Indigenous] nations live and prosper based on their freely chosen political, cultural, economic and social way of life the living Earth also thrives. Thus, it is no surprise that Fourth World nations occupy 80% of the world’s remaining biodiverse rainforests, plains, tundra, mountain regions, estuaries, rivers and streams, and deserts.” – Rudolph C. Rÿser (Founder, Center for World Indigenous Studies) in Biodiversity Wars: Coexistence or Biocultural Collapse in the 21st Century (2020), Chapter 1 “Original Peoples”

Decolonization of the “recolonized” and the “still colonized” must now give way to the exercise of “peoples’” rights to determine their own social, economic, political, and cultural future in accord with the international principle. | Chapter-1, Biodiversity-Wars
Photo: Rabindranath in Santiniketan – Source: The Better India

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” – Rabindranath Tagore >>

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