This month, history was made as Deb Haaland was confirmed as the first Native American Secretary of the Interior. As the newly appointed as Secretary of the Interior, Haaland will step into the role of becoming a key member of future efforts to combat climate change, conserve nature, and more. The Secretary of the Interior plays a critical role in United States conservation and is responsible for managing and sustaining most federal lands, natural resources and energy resources, and advocating on behalf of tribal nations.

The Interior Department sees roughly one-fifth of all the land in the country, in addition to 1.7 billion acres of the country’s coasts. Managing national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands, Haaland will oversee the department in its efforts to protect these areas and the wildlife that reside in them.

A 35th generation resident of New Mexico and member of the Laguna Pueblo, Haaland’s appointment to the position made history, becoming the first indigenous person to manage the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education. She is now responsible for other agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.

Turtle Island Restoration Network is excited to work with Secretary Haaland. Her history of promoting environmental justice, protecting endangered species, and strengthening the conservation management of our public lands, waters, and oceans make us excited for the future of the Interior Department. We look forward to working with her for a blue-green planet.