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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) convened our monthly meeting to prioritize pandemic response efforts as well as matters collectively important to the 20 Pueblos of New Mexico and Texas. Meanwhile, Pueblo leaders are heading into our annual time of transition amongst our individual Pueblos. Tribal leadership does this while simultaneously navigating critical ongoing discussions and decisions to ensure that the voices of our Tribal Nations are rightfully considered at the highest levels of government in our next administration.

Our Pueblos recognize the unique historical moment that our nation and Indian County is facing. Each of the Pueblos continue to exercise inherent sovereignty in relationship with the federal government and understand that to truly combat the pandemic and ensure the longevity of our Nations, we must work together to implement leadership that has a firm commitment to the United States obligation to fulfill its trust responsibility to Tribes. One of these critical discussion points for Pueblo leadership was the movement by tribal leaders throughout the United States to urge President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to appoint Representative Deb Haaland for of Secretary of Interior. 

Rep. Haaland is an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo and also has significant ties to Jemez Pueblo and has an incredible list of accomplishments in her efforts to support tribes as well as efforts to preserve and protect the country’s rich land and water resources. To that end, APCG joins its fellow tribes throughout the country in supporting her appointment. Not only would Rep Haaland be the first Native American to hold this position, she would be the first Native American to hold any cabinet position in the history of our nation. Her appointment sends a strong message to not only Native Americans but all Americans regarding the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority to protect our land and resources for generations to come. 

Our Pueblo Nations are extremely appreciative and grateful for the leadership of our New Mexican congressional champions, including Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich, who have also unceasingly supported Pueblos and Tribes through their efforts to ensure the health, safety, well-being, and cultural longevity of our nations. Although we would be fortunate if any of our New Mexican candidates were appointed, we feel it is long past due in this nation’s history to have a Native American woman in any cabinet Secretary position working on behalf of the communities she has served for her entire life.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s vision to return the soul of America, as our member Governors understand it, is by making meaningful actions to make good on their promises to Tribal Leaders outlined in the “Biden Harris plan for Tribal Nations. “As Chairman of APCG, we believe that the appointment of Representative Deb Haaland is a step in the right direction of reconciling the histories of the past and confronting the realities of the present by strengthening the government-to-government relationship with this new administration. 

We look forward to working in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the Biden-Harris Administration to address the pandemic, protect our landscapes, and make progress for generations of our people to come.

Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr. is Governor of the Pueblo of Laguna.

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