- By Jenna Kunze
WASHINGTON — When Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines , questioned Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) on why she co-sponsored a 2019 bill to protect a healthy population of Montana grizzly bears in perpetuity, Haaland responded: “I imagine, at the time, I was caring about the bears.”
The comment came from Tuesday morning’s confirmation hearing, when Rep. Haaland sat for more than two hours of questions from a bipartisan group of 20 senators who will determine whether or not to confirm her to lead the Interior Department as the first Native American cabinet member.
As a result, a new hashtag emerged on twitter, #BearsforDeb. The new page is a spinoff of the popular hashtag—#DebforInterior— ushering in support for the Representative’s confirmation amid pushback from several Republican lawmakers. The group’s bio reads: “#BearsForDeb because Deb is for the Bears!! Proud ursine relatives bearing down for #DebForInterior!!”
The original hashtag has garnered more than 26,000 followers, thanks to its founder Julian Noise Cat, vice president of a progressive think tank who was among the first to suggest Rep. Haaland to lead the Interior.
One user wrote on Twitter, “Just when I thought the #DebforInterior set the gold standard for #MemeCampaigns, it is only outdone by #BearsforDeb.”
Viewers across the country pointed to the bear comment as a moment of lightness in an otherwise intense hearing.
Senators from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will resume Haaland’s hearing tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for additional questioning.
More Stories Like ThisNative News Weekly (February 5, 2023): D.C. Briefs
Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier Set for Monday, Feb. 6th
Sen. Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee) Appointed to Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
American Indian Man Dies in Pennington County Jail
Interior Secretary Haaland to Travel to Australia, Highlight International Climate Partnerships
12 years of Native News
This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.