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Tanana Chiefs Conference signals support for Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 4:19 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) has signaled its support for Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior.

In a letter to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, TCC Chief and Chair P.J. Simon listed highlights of Haaland’s tenure with the House of Representatives. These included introducing bills to combat the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in the U.S. and expand tribal self-governance.

TCC General Counsel Natasha Singh said that the organization knows Haaland will continue to advocate for public safety in Native communities. “We are extremely excited and encouraged that President Biden has finally put forward a Native American at the highest level of the United States governance, in a cabinet position, especially in the Department of Interior, where she will be overseeing agencies and bureaus that have a tremendous impact on our traditional territories.”

Singh said TCC looks forward to working with the Department of the Interior to elevate tribal voices within all bureaus. “As Indigenous women, we have been ruling the world for centuries, and now we are back to the position where we are able to implement the balance that Alaska needs.”

Singh added, “There’s been some criticisms about her ability to prioritize Alaskan... the needs of Alaskans. We believe she will bring a balance. In Alaska we know that it doesn’t have to be pro-development vs. conservation. There can be a balance between the two, and a Native woman is the right person to bring this balance to the state.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski and Don Young have also expressed their support for Haaland.

In a statement from his office, Senator Dan Sullivan indicated that he is still evaluating Haaland’s qualifications. According to the statement, Sullivan “has concerns that Congresswoman Haaland will reverse the progress that the Alaska delegation has made on critical energy projects, further jeopardizing jobs and working families at a time when the state’s economy is struggling to recover from the pandemic.”

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