As the chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk, Inc., the economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Lance Morgan says he knows who makes the big decisions in an organization.
That’s why he was pleased Thursday to learn Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., will be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as the first Native American to lead the Interior Department.
After all, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, located within the department, answers to the person sitting in the secretary’s chair.
“We’ve never had somebody who’s given the orders before,” Morgan said.
A member of Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico, Haaland’s role as Interior secretary could mark a turning point for an agency that has often had a fraught and, at times, bitter relationship with federally recognized tribes. Haaland would assume the helm of a massive bureaucracy that manages federal land, offshore drilling and leasing, endangered species, mining cleanup,