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For Immediate Release


Collin Rees,, 308-293-3159

Press Release

Haaland is a "Fierce Ally" and Her Appointment to Lead the Interior Marks a "Historic Moment for Native Americans & the Green New Deal Movement"


Today, Sunrise Movement Executive Director and co-founder, Varshini Prakash, issued the following statement in response to Rep. Deb Haaland being selected as Secretary of the Interior. This marks the first time that a Native American will lead the office which manages relations with native tribes and pubic lands as well as the first Native American Cabinet Secretary. One of the most well-respected Indigenous leaders in the country, Rep. Haaland has a broad coalition of supporters including progressive organizations, over 150 tribes and hundreds of tribal leaders from across the country, environmentalists, and even Republican members of Congress.

“Today is a historic day. Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to “heal the soul of America.” I cannot think of a single greater act to begin that promise than by giving a Native American woman authority over the nation’s stolen land and allowing her to begin the process of restoring relationships with our nation’s first peoples. Thank you Joe Biden for listening to the unprecedented groundswell of support that united behind Deb Haaland — there is no one better to lead the Department of the Interior.

“Haaland is a perfect choice — she is a fierce ally of our movement who has fought for renewable energy job creation in the House and was one of the first Congresspeople to endorse the vision for a Green New Deal after it was introduced by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in 2019. With a progressive leader at the helm, we can make real progress on stopping climate change and ensure sovereignty and dignity for all native people and justice for all.

“Rep. Deb Haaland’s appointment as Secretary of the Interior is a historic moment for every Native American and the Green New Deal movement. We know that in order to stop climate change, we must return leadership to the native tribes who cared for this land for centuries. This historic day would not have been possible without the hard work of tribes, native leaders, our Indigenous movement partners like NDN Collective and Indigenous Environmental Network, and every young person who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and pushed every candidate in the Democratic primary to chase the vision of a Green New Deal.”


What Sunrise Movement did to back #DebForInterior

  • Creative campaign: Since Biden won the election, Sunrise Movement charged out of the gates with a campaign to hold him accountable in appointing a cabinet that looks like America and that will be able to deliver on his bold climate agenda. Sunrise created a “Climate Mandate” campaign, with a website, video, and creative communications to mobilize their supporters behind a slate of candidates for major cabinet positions. Deb Haaland was not only featured in the premier video launch but is highlighted 1st on the website. Sunrise movement even made further videos allowing Deb to share the story of her people
  • Letter to Senator Udall: On December 10th, Sunrise Movement joined NDN Collective, Justice Democrats, and Data for Progress in sending a letter to Senator Udall, asking him to heed the call of Native leaders and support Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. These groups represent a cross-section of the broader Indigenous, youth, climate justice, and progressive movement which has overwhelmingly coalesced to support Representative Deb Haaland for the next Secretary of the Interior. This letter generated media attention and helped solidify Deb as a front-runner for the role.


Haaland has been endorsed by more than 150 Tribal leaders, organizations representing over 100 Tribal Nations, more than 50 members of Congress (including Republicans Don Young and Tom Cole), and a broad coalition of climate and environmental groups. She may be the only politician in America with support from progressives like the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats and Congressional Republicans like Don Young and Tom Cole.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren described Haaland as having “not only invaluable lived experiences, but also a top-notch command of policy.”
  • Rep. Young (R - Alaska) praised Haaland as a “consensus builder” and said that at the Department of the Interior she “would pour her passion into the job every single day.”
  • A letter to the Biden transition team signed by over 50 Members of Congress led by Rep. Raul Grijalva, the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, described Haaland as “eminently qualified to be Interior Secretary.”
  • Rep. Cole (R - OK) said that he has accomplished a great deal with Rep. Haaland, pointing to bipartisan legislation addressing murdered and missing Indigenous women as well as coronavirus relief aid for tribes. “We understand that Native American issues are not a matter of conservative versus liberal,” he added.


  • Deb Haaland introduced the 30 by 30 Act, which “sets a national goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and 30% of the ocean within the United States by 2030”. 
  • She’s argued persuasively that the best route out of the coronavirus recession is to move swiftly to build out clean energy. “We need to listen to our planet and act now. While we do that, our country can reap the economic benefits of new industries and address economic inequality.”
  • In Congress, she is a respected and effective leader with a reputation for working across the aisle, introducing more bipartisan bills and attracting more cosponsors than any other House freshman, and introducing more bills with bicameral support sponsors than any other member of the House, period.  
  • Haaland has served as vice-chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands -- which means she’s exercised oversight over the same agencies she would be managing as Interior Secretary.


Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

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