Five Minnesota tribes in Rep. Pete Stauber’s (R-Minn.) congressional district criticized their leader for not representing Native interests in his effort to derail Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination for Interior Secretary.
President-elect Joe Biden nominated Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), a congressional representative from New Mexico (D-N.M.), on Dec. 17. If confirmed, she will be the first-ever Native American Cabinet member. She will also help drive Biden’s promise to transition America away from fossil fuels and reinstate protections on public lands.
Stauber circulated a draft letter urging other lawmakers to join him in his request to the incoming Biden administration to withdraw Haaland’s nomination. In the draft letter, which has not been made public, but was obtained by NBC News, the lawmaker wrote that “Nominating Representative Haaland is a direct threat to working men and women and a rejection of responsible development of America’s natural resources.”
Specifically, the Congressman outlined legislation Haaland co-sponsored banning mining in a 234,000-acre stretch of Superior National Forest. Included in that area is Stauber’s district, where the Twin Metals mining company is seeking to mine for copper.
In response to the news tribal leaders from Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe signed on to a letter to Stauber dated Jan. 14.
According to NBC News, the letter read: “This historic nomination is more important to us and all of Indian Country than any other Cabinet nomination in recent history. Your opposition to the first and only American Indian ever nominated to a Cabinet position is likely to reverberate across Indian Country.”
Additionally, the chair of the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, a group that represents 35 tribal nations in the region, lambasted Stauber in a letter for not first consulting with the tribes in his district.
“We are unaccustomed to any member of Congress serving in such a public role in leading an attack that diametrically opposes the wishes of nearly all of Indian Country,” chair Aaron Payment wrote.
Stauber’s communications director, Kelsey Mix, told Native News Online that Congressman Stauber cannot support Haaland’s nomination because “the nominees’ support for extreme policies is not what hardworking families across northeast Minnesota need.”
More Stories Like ThisSouth Dakota House State Affairs Committee Advances Bill to Expand and Protect Native American Voting Rights
Historic Native Nations Agribusiness Trade Mission to Take Place in Canada in June
Biden Appoints The National Center’s Chris James (Cherokee) to Trade Advisory Committee
FCC Chairwoman Proposes New "Missing and Endangered Persons" Emergency Alert Code
California MMIP Summit Convenes Tribal Leaders to Address Epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.