MAZON Celebrates Historic Confirmation of Deb Haaland and Nomination of Janie Simms Hipp

March 15, 2021

Today, the Senate confirmed Representative Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Department of Interior in a bipartisan vote. Haaland, an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo, is the first Native American to lead the department, and the first Native American cabinet official in U.S. history. Haaland has spoken publicly of her experiences facing food insecurity and using federal nutrition assistance programs. President Biden also announced today that he is nominating Janie Simms Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and former CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund, as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a position charged with enforcing USDA’s laws and regulations. In response, Mia Hubbard, Vice President of Programs at MAZON, released a statement remarking that these two women will advance food security and food sovereignty among Tribes and Indigenous communities:

“Secretary Haaland’s leadership at the Interior Department represents a watershed moment for Indian Country and a step forward for the United States’ recognition of the trust and treaty obligations we owe to Tribes and all Native Americans. She understands from personal experience that we must invest in indigenous communities and engage in meaningful, government-to-government consultation. Secretary Haaland has openly testified about the importance of meaningful federal food security policies, and MAZON is honored to be her partner in building more self-determination and equity into federal programs and institutions. As an anti-hunger organization informed by Jewish values of ‘repairing the world,’ we are proud to welcome Secretary Haaland’s promises to renew the federal government’s obligations to Tribes so that indigenous communities everywhere have the resources they need in order to thrive.

“We are also thrilled to learn that President Biden has nominated Janie Simms Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, to serve as USDA’s General Counsel. Janie is a longtime partner and friend of MAZON, through her prior roles in the Obama administration, the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas, and the Native American Agriculture Fund. She is a force of nature, a profound visionary, and a fierce advocate for policies that ensure food security and food sovereignty in Indian Country. There is truly no one who is better poised to ensure that USDA’s programs truly meet the needs of all Americans.”

Learn more about MAZON’s work alongside Tribes and Native Americans and the organization’s historic investment in Native agriculture advocacy