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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to Travel to Australia
February 2, 2023

Visit will underscore the importance of working with Indigenous communities on collaborative conservation

WASHINGTON – The week of February 13, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will visit Australia to highlight the importance of Indigenous Knowledge, collaborative conservation and international partnerships to inform the global effort to fight the climate crisis. The trip will underscore the interconnectedness of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s mission and priorities with those of our international counterparts, including the U.S. relationship with key allies in the Indo-Pacific region.On February 14 at 7:30am AWST (10:30am AEDT), Secretary Haaland will deliver a speech on these themes, hosted by the Perth USAsia Centre in Perth, Western Australia.

Credentialed media interested in attending this event in-person should RSVP to Ryan Gibson at ryan.r.gibson@perthusasia.edu.au.

Media can access the livestream by registering here.

Details on additional press opportunities will be forthcoming.

About U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland

Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican.

Secretary Haaland grew up in a military family; her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving six lives in Vietnam, and her mother is a Navy veteran who served as a federal employee for 25 years at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a military child, she attended 13 public schools before graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque.

As a single mother, Secretary Haaland volunteered at her child’s pre-school to afford early childhood education. Like many parents, she had to rely on food stamps at times as a single parent, lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and struggled to put herself through college. At the age of 28, Haaland enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and later earned her J.D. from UNM Law School. Secretary Haaland and her child, who also graduated from the University of New Mexico, are still paying off student loans.

Secretary Haaland ran her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, served as a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and became the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, overseeing business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico. She successfully advocated for the Laguna Development Corporation to create policies and commitments to environmentally friendly business practices.

Throughout her career in public service, Secretary Haaland has broken barriers and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations.

After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Secretary Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party. She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies.

About the U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.

The U.S. Department of the Interior collaborates internationally to manage natural resources, honor cultural heritage, supply water and energy, and advance scientific research on behalf of the American people.

The Department also carries out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association (Compact) to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.