Deb Haaland used her authority as Interior Secretary to campaign for Native midterm vote for ‘progress’

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Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland has gotten involved in the election season in an unusual way — she’s written an op-ed in an Indian-focused news blog imploring Native Americans to get out and vote in order to ensure that Native votes can turn the tables and drive our country toward progress.The Interior Secretary has enormous power over tribes in America, along with the ability to bestow all kinds of benefits and gifts. This is the Secretary of Interior engaging in targeted messaging to a specific racial and tribal group; it is a form of electioneering using her partisan position to drive the Democrat vote.

Her op-ed was written in her capacity as a member of the Biden cabinet and we include for Must Read Alaska readers without further comment:

By DEB HAALAND | SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

Many people don’t know that Native Americans didn’t have the right to vote in federal elections until we were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924 and that it wasn’t until the 1960s that the last state granted us the right to vote in state elections. This is the sad and ironic truth — even though Indigenous communities in North America are some of the oldest democracies in the world. Participating in governing is a time honored and sacred tradition in our Indigenous communities. Our ancestors and relatives survived against seemingly insurmountable odds, which is why we owe it to them to make our voices heard at the ballot box. This is why I became an organizer in the first place. I knew that generations of laws restricting the right to vote for Native people impacted our participation in elections, and that it would take a concerted effort to register voters; ensure they had the information about voting dates, locations and hours; and personal outreach to increase voter participation.

With my voting rights champion, WWII veteran Miguel Trujillo in my mind, I would lace up my sneakers, drive out to remote communities in New Mexico, and go door to door. I can’t count how many times I knocked on someone’s door and heard that it was the first time anyone had ever reached out to them to register to vote. Since my organizing days in the early 2000s, we’ve made strides to increase the Native vote. But as we fast forward to today, we face the same battles. Recent attempts such as closing certain polling locations, limiting early voting, changing polling location hours, and even drawing maps to hush the voices of specific populations are consistent attempts to restrict voting access. With President Biden’s support, we are working with states to expand access to voting at Department of the Interior-operated post-secondary Tribal institutions. In May, I was proud to announce that Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) in Kansas and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in New Mexico will be designated voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act. This action seeks to remove barriers to voting by allowing these institutions to facilitate voter registration opportunities for enrolled students and members of those communities.

These may seem like small steps, but to the students at Haskell, SIPI and Native communities everywhere, this is one way we can live up to our democratic Indigenous roots. Participatory democracy is part of who we are as people – collaboration, consensus and common good are built into our cultures and traditions. Voting is sacred and we must use our voices in every election. Our votes reflect our values and the issues we care about. When we vote, we can impact the direction of the country, because our votes determine who has the power to make decisions for our communities. From school board, to governor, to President – leadership matters. Our communities will thrive when leaders in elected office know and understand the federal government’s obligations to Tribal nations. When I was in Congress, I heard from many Tribal leaders about how much more efficient it was to walk into a meeting with an elected leader who already understood and knew what trust responsibility meant and what government-to-government relationships are. It is inspiring for young people to see themselves in an elected leader, and it is one of the many reasons I believe strongly that representation matters.

Your voice and your vote can make a difference. There are places in this country where Native votes can turn the tables and drive our country toward progress. The strides we’re taking for Native people at all levels of government can and will be slowed down if we don’t use the power of our votes to make our voices heard. I encourage everyone to learn about the candidates on the ballot, reach out to your election officials, and vote in the upcoming elections.

Secretary Deb Haaland is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican.

17 COMMENTS

  1. These are the new Democrat candidates that the Left has latched onto. They check the right boxes without the baggage and unpredictable behavior. If you argue against them they can play the racist, homophobic, sexist card. There will be more.

  2. I have noticed, through mine own lifetime of learning outside of current social media, that the denial of rights given unto what is now termed ‘minorities’ has, and has always been, constructed by Democrats, and the furtherance of said rights has, and has always been, constructed by Republicans.

    Go figure.

  3. Oh, and unto Lucinda, Frank, and Maureen.

    Please research the above statement before you embarrass yourselves by disputing it out of hand.

  4. So What!!! When are any of these Liberal Democrats ever held accountable for any of these types of transgressions and, in many cases, there’s much worse transgressions even worse than this??? What are any of us “pee-ons” going to do about it???

  5. You know I am not a fan of that woman and her policies to lock up our state, but if you read her letter it appears to be non-partisan and actually send a good message for folks to get off their butts and get informed and then go vote. Good advice in my book. The problem we have now is a lazy uninformed electorate.

  6. Might be worth filing a Hatch Act complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which has authority to investigate Hatch Act violations.

  7. Well! She being dishonest. But her effort to increase voter turn out that’s what republican conservatives are Supposed to be doing not only maintaining the red districts but also gradually flipping blue districts by just meeting its neighbors eligble to vote and will support conservatism through meeting another neighbor informing like what haland is
    doing only from a republican’s motive.

  8. She thinks the current national dumpster fire that’s burning around us is “progress”?
    Progress to what?

  9. With all the left’s clamor about making voting easier and more accessible, they’ve saddled us with Ranked Choice Voting.

  10. So are we saying targeting a community to vote more, while propping yourself up, done with letterhead with your name and title on it — is electioneering?

  11. Murkowski was the tie breaking vote on her confirmation.
    I blame those whom are accountable.
    I smell the headwinds of change.

  12. ” It is inspiring for young people to see themselves in an elected leader, ….”

    Do any of us really want our young people to see themselves in Joe Biden ?

  13. So…she made an op-ed to encourage Native people to vote…in what world is this controversial? Do you think Native people shouldn’t vote in higher numbers? Good lord

  14. I could be wrong but believe this is illegal for her to use her position and influence on the American Native community. I really like the American Indians and believe they got shafted by the early corrupt politicians and corporate America just like we are now. There are to many people groups being lured in like sheep to the slaughter just for money. Money is truly the root of all evil.

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