“Historic” pick for interior secretary Deb Haaland raised daughter Somáh Haaland as a single mother, and relied on food stamps to get through early parenthood.

Deb Haaland’s daughter, Somáh, is ‘so grateful’ to her mother

On 29 September, Deb Haaland released a one minute long campaign video titled My Fierce Daughter Somáh. In the video, Deb’s daughter, Somáh, lent her voice to her mother’s campaign.

Deb had “always cared deeply about creating opportunity and equity for New Mexicans”, Somáh said.

She continued: “As a queer, mixed race person, I’m so grateful to have her representing me in Washington.”

My Fierce Daughter Somah

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Posted by Deb Haaland on Monday, September 28, 2020

Somáh is a writer and outspoken activist. She once reflected on what she has learned from her mother: “From a very young age, she instilled in me a sense of wanting to do the right thing and make the world a better place.”

“I get to watch her create this ripple effect of change throughout several communities.”

US Supreme Court ruling to uphold marriage equality

In June 2015, when the US Supreme Court ruled to uphold marriage equality across the country, Deb, then New Mexico Democratic Chair, released a celebratory statement applauding the “important decision”.

Deb Haaland said of her daughter that she was “thrilled to know that her future is free from barriers to marry whomever she wishes.” 

“Somáh came out to me as a senior in high school and since that time she has advocated for acceptance of this fundamental right. I share this victory with her. Love wins!”

Deb regularly tweets or speaks affectionately, and with pride, about her daughter. In November, for example, she reminded her followers via Twitter that the first episode of Sesame Street aired “on this day in 1969”. 

She added that she was “proud to say it’s played a big part in my daughter’s & my life”.

According to her official bio, Deb Haaland volunteered at her daughter’s pre-school so that they could afford early childhood education.

She also relied for a period on food stamps, and has lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and struggled to put herself through college.

Why Deb Haaland’s nomination is “historical”

When Biden assumes the role of President, Deb Haaland will become the first Native American to serve as interior secretary. 

The BBC described the choice as “historic”, as Haaland will be the first Native American in any cabinet secretary role. 

In a statement quoted in the New York Times, Haaland said of the nomination: 

It would be an honour to move the Biden-Harris climate agenda forward, help repair the government to government relationship with Tribes that the Trump Administration has ruined, and serve as the first Native American cabinet secretary in our nation’s history.

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