Welcome back to the 255! As we approach spring break, we wish our students a nice and relaxing time away from the virtual classroom! This week on the 255, we continue to highlight Women’s History Month. This post features the amazing work of now Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland. While providing more information around Secretary Haaland’s historic confirmation, we are also taking this time to give more insights on sovereign tribal nations all around the United States. So grab your tea or coffee and get ready to jump right in to this segment of #AcademiaIRL.
Secretary Deb Haaland was confirmed by the Senate on March 15th, 2021 and became the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet Secretary. This is not the first time Secretary Haaland has shattered the glass ceiling. In 2014, she ran for Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico and became the first Native American woman to lead a state party. Secretary Haaland also served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District from 2019-2021. Haaland is a 35th generation New Mexican and a member of the Pueblo of Laguna – a federally recognized tribe of the Native American Pueblo people in west-central New Mexico. During her tenure as a public official, Haaland has pioneered conversations and legislation concerning environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies. Outside of public service, Haaland has managed and run her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, held a variety of tribal administrative positions at San Felipe Pueblo, and eventually became the first woman elected to the Lugana Development Corporation Board of Directors. Haaland holds a B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and later earned her J.D. from UNM Law School. Both in and out of public service, Secretary Haaland has demonstrated time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with.
To learn more about Deb Haaland check out the links below:
- Secretary Haaland’s Speech as the Secretary of Interior-Elect
- Secretary Haaland’s Swearing in Ceremony
The Pueblo of Laguna is just one of the many federally recognized tribes of Native American people in the United States. One of the problems that face many Native Americans today is the ignorance of the majority of the U.S. public regarding knowledge around the legal and political institutions of Native tribes and their sovereignty. It is easy to discredit the treaties between settler colonials and indigenous peoples as “a thing of the past.” However, many people fail to understand the contemporary relevance of those legally and politically binding treaties and documents, and to recognize the sovereignty of indigenous communities across the United States. Even Supreme Court cases acknowledge the existence of the three sovereign entities that make up the U.S.A – the federal government, state governments, and tribal governments. If you’re interested in learning about the relationship between tribunal governments and the state and federal systems, you can follow the links below.
Check out these sources to learn more about the sovereign tribes around the United States:
We send our support and congratulations to Secretary Haaland for shattering the glass wall. We hope you enjoyed this segment on the 255 as we continue to decolonize American history and more specifically women’s history! We here at the 255 believe it is crucial to revisit our history with new perspectives so we can take away new understandings of the contemporary world. We look forward to bringing you our last features for International Women’s History Month in the coming week! As always, a friendly reminder to be kind, stay safe, and read about indigenous people’s history!