fbpx
 

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 This

Michigan Governor Appoints 1st Native Citizen to Court of Appeals
Michigan Governor Meets with State's Tribes
  Tribal Business News Round-Up: Dec. 05
Manitoba Man Charged with Killing 3 More Indigenous Women, House of Commons Rejects State of Emergency Request
SEEN & HEARD at the White House Tribal Nations Summit

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

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 us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $25 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the publication's lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.