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Three weeks before Joe Biden announced he would nominate New Mexico’s Rep. Deb Haaland for secretary of the interior, Tsq'escen writer and activist Julian Brave NoiseCat wrote a widely shared story on what it would mean for Haaland to assume the office. The prospect of the Laguna Pueblo leader heading up the department that deals with Native American communities was invigorating.
NoiseCat wrote: “(I)n the wake of Standing Rock, a new generation of Indigenous millennials and Gen Z-ers dream of a future when the United States gives land back to Native nations. In theory, the next secretary of interior could take steps to realize that goal.”
Along with other Native American organizers and activists, NoiseCat, who advised on the development of the Green New Deal — a resolution co-sponsored by the New Mexico representative — played an important role in Haaland’s nomination, which has her poised to become the first Native American woman tapped for a cabinet position. He was one of the first to suggest Haaland for the role, and NoiseCat’s relentless organizing in Indian Country, in coalition with the environmental movement and the American left, persuaded Democrats toward Haaland.
The nomination is part of a cautiously hopeful trend toward more equitable intergovernmental relations between Indigenous nations and federal government in the United States, a shift that includes Biden’s recently signed executive action to reaffirm the government’s recognition of tribal sovereignty.
With Haaland’s nomination expected to be confirmed around March 15, this is a historic moment to gather and learn from NoiseCat. Indigenous-led grassroots organizing and activism in both Canada and the U.S. have spawned some of the last decade’s most significant social justice movements. What does Haaland’s nomination have to teach the world about grassroots organizing?
Join NoiseCat and Canada’s National Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood on March 11 for a public Conversations event. Register for the event here, and send questions ahead of time to [email protected] to join the discussion.
NoiseCat’s grassroots and policy work — which includes the 2019 Indigenous canoe journey to Alcatraz to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation — has propelled meaningful dialogue on and progress with Native American communities. NoiseCat serves as vice-president of policy and strategy with progressive think tank Data For Progress, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone and countless other publications — including here at National Observer.
This Conversations event brings a combined breadth of knowledge from both the front lines of grassroots work and the inner reaches of American political institutions. As these two appear to shift closer to one another, how are Native Americans and their communities impacted? Join NoiseCat with Linda Solomon Wood to find out. Subscribe to Canada’s National Observer to support award-winning independent journalism for as little as $2.77 per month.