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Public lands top Rep. Debra Haaland's agenda

In a recent interview. “No one else can claim that they have been there any longer than our people, than the Pueblo people. I feel like perhaps my voice is important right now to testify to our longstanding care for the land.”

With Haaland in office, “we now have a Native American right there in the decisionmakers’ room,” said Shaun Chapoose, the co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and a member of the governing body of the Ute Indian tribe. “She is a Native American and she understands our traditions and she is in a place where she can educate lawmakers.”

She understands, for instance, that almost every parcel of public land in the U.S. is land that Native peoples have inhabited or used for material and spiritual purposes. When the United States government used violence and coercion to force Indigenous tribes on to reservations, Native people did not suddenly lose their connection to it.

“Our sacred sites are all over the public lands,” said Haaland.