EDITOR, Daily News:

Though Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood were founded in 1912 and 1914 respectively, our people have been stewards of the air, land and sea of this region, Tlingit Aani, since time immemorial. We joined together in this statement in recognizing the profound wisdom of appointing Rep. Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo Native American woman, to the position of Secretary of the Interior. President Biden’s appointment recognizes that we, the indigenous people of this continent, more than 570 federally recognized tribes, have been stewards of this land since time immemorial.  We have done our best to keep Southeast Alaska pristine, with its majestic beauty and grandeur. Rep. Haaland’s confirmation will be an important step in continuing that tradition.

 It is time for us to come together to support Deb Haaland’s unique and appropriate appointment.

 This is the first time in the history of our nation that an American Indian is being nominated to the Secretary of the Interior.

This is an exciting time for American Indians and Alaska Natives. For the first time, in America’s history we will not have to explain to theSecretary of the Interior and her many departments, what it means to be an Indian. We will not have to explain what it means to be without running water in the house. We will not have to explain our bad roads. We will not have to explain what it is like to live on a reservation or in a village. For the first time, the one at the top will already know.

 We join with tribal leaders of Montana and from around the 570 federally recognized tribes to support this appointment. Her confirmation will be welcomed with open arms, and together we can address the issues that are affecting our communities. We hope that our senators, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan, will support this monumental nomination for Indian Country.

JOE WILLIAMS JR.

Former Grand President

of the Alaska Native Brotherhood

Saxman