Press Statement: Conservation Colorado applauds confirmation of Deb Haaland as 54th Interior Secretary

Haaland makes history as the first Native American to serve as Interior Secretary

DENVER — Today’s historic vote makes Congresswoman Deb Haaland the first Native American in U.S. history to serve as Interior secretary. This monumental decision fosters the effort to mend relationships between the U.S. government and Indigenous nations, and sets a national tone to include Native Americans in the fight to preserve our public lands.

Her confirmation provides hope for many longstanding and broadly supported Colorado public lands initiatives, such as the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act and Colorado Wilderness Act.

“Secretary Haaland’s confirmation symbolizes a new opportunity for a partnership between the federal government and Tribes who were once excluded from the halls of power. With Haaland as a federal leader, we see an inclusive future where ancestral and sacred lands will be managed and honored through an Indigenous lens. The national effort of protecting 30 percent of our land and water by 2030 is achievable through Tribal and Indigenous partnership.”Ernest House, Jr., member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Conservation Colorado board member.

“For far too long the voices of Tribes and Indigenous peoples have been wrongfully ignored when it comes to decisions about ancestral and public lands. Deb Haaland’s historic confirmation marks a new day. Her conservation expertise and inclusive brand of leadership will elevate the voices of Tribes and prioritize the equitable protection of public lands as we all work together to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and water by 2030.” Kelly Nordini, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado

Haaland will oversee the management of over 500 million acres of ancestral and public lands, and facilitate the United States government-to-government relationship with 574 federally recognized tribes.