"Tribes Expect A Voice On Land And Waters Under Haaland"

"With Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland poised to become the first Native American Interior secretary, tribal governments historically marginalized by the agency expect not only a greater respect for their autonomy, but also a more significant role in the nation's land and water management decisions.

Tribes aren't a monolith, frequently pushing different — and sometimes competing — agendas. But tribal leaders and experts have identified common issues they expect Haaland to act on quickly if confirmed, including an overarching need for better consultation and recognition of tribal sovereignty across Interior's wide authority over lands and waters.

"There's been a lot of neglect" of tribal programs, said Raina Thiele, an Obama administration official. "Haaland coming in as secretary begins to right the ship in terms of balance of focus of the department."

Thiele served as former President Obama's associate director of intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, working with tribes, Native organizations and Alaska Native corporations."

Jennifer Yachnin and Jeremy P. Jacobs report for E&E News February 4, 2021.

Source: E&E News, 02/05/2021