|Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., during today's hearing.|
(Photo by Jim Watson, The Associated Press)
Haaland is a controversial pick, with many conservatives concerned about her views on energy development. During the hearing, "numerous Republican Senators focused their questioning on Biden's oil and gas leasing 'ban' on federal lands, citing projected economic and job losses from the executive action," Rott reports. "Haaland repeatedly pointed out that the president has not banned new oil and gas leasing, but paused it while his administration reviews the federal leasing program."
Her nomination is historic on several levels. "Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, was one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, along with U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas. And if confirmed, she will be the first Native American to head the agency that administers the nation’s trust responsibility to American Indians and Alaska Natives," Traci Morris writes for The Conversation. Morris, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, is the executive director of Arizona State University's American Indian Policy Institute.
Many Native Americans say they're excited to see Haaland's nomination, and said she has worked hard to represent their interests, The Associated Press reports. The story includes interviews with Native Americans reflecting on how she has helped them or how they believe she will help them.