Casey Family Programs statement on confirmation of Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the 54th United States Secretary of the Interior

Casey Family Programs applauds the historic appointment and confirmation of New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, as Secretary of the Interior. Secretary Haaland is the first Native American to be appointed as a cabinet secretary in U.S. history. As Secretary of the Interior, she will lead the federal department that has the most direct responsibility for supporting the health, ensuring the well-being and increasing the opportunities of indigenous peoples across the United States.

Secretary Deb Haaland
Secretary Deb Haaland is the first Native American to be appointed as a cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Secretary Haaland’s life and accomplishments make her uniquely qualified to lead the Interior Department, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, at a time of both tremendous challenge and tremendous opportunity to directly improve the lives of all Americans.

Families across the country are struggling with the overwhelming stress, setbacks and heartache caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated blows to our shared economic prosperity. Secretary Haaland’s experience as a mother, a child of parents who served in the military, and a community leader who fought to improve the lives of others is critically important.

Combined with her perseverance to overcome obstacles to earn her education and eventually win election to the U.S. House of Representatives as one of the first Native American women, it suggests strongly that she understands the challenges facing so many children and families today. It suggests that she understands and will fight for the policies that are needed to bring justice, equity and hope to children, families and communities across this nation.

This is especially true for Native American children and families, who have long been overrepresented and disproportionately impacted in the nation’s child welfare system. As Interior Secretary, she will oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose legacy of racist and destructive policies continues to profoundly affect the hope and opportunity of indigenous peoples. Her confirmation comes as the critically important Indian Child Welfare Act — the gold standard for how to best support child safety and family strength for all people — is under attack in the courts.

Secretary Haaland’s confirmation represents an important step forward for our country in acknowledging and addressing the generations of trauma and injustice inflicted on millions of Native people.

Casey Family Programs is committed to supporting Tribal Nations across North America in their efforts to improve the safety and well-being of their children and families. Nothing is more important for building hope than ensuring that all children and families have the access to opportunities and supports they need to heal and thrive in their own communities and culture.

We look forward to partnering with Secretary Haaland and all those who are committed to building Communities of Hope for all of our children in the years ahead.