Biden Interior Department

In this March 5, 2020, file photo Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Native American Caucus co-chair. Haaland is expected to become the first Native American secretary of Interior. 

The Denver-based American Indian College Fund is among the groups advocating for the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., to the job of secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, pushing back on accusations that her views are "extreme."

"[A]head of the hearing, Congresswoman Haaland is facing direct attacks by the oil and gas industry and the Senators they fund concerning her experience," wrote the Fund in an email sent on Monday. "To ensure all senators hear loud and clear that she has the experience and leadership we need at the U.S. Department of Interior, the American Indian College Fund is joining allied Native organizations to advocate for Haaland’s confirmation as part of #DebForInterior Week of Action."

The American Indian College Fund, founded in 1989, provides college scholarships to tribal students.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources is holding a hearing for Haaland on Tuesday morning. If confirmed, Haaland, who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo, would be the first Indigenous Cabinet secretary.

Multiple Republican senators from the West labeled Haaland's aversion to fossil fuel development as "extreme" and "radical" prior to her appearance before the committee.

POLITICO reported that some progressives and advocacy groups are concerned that opposition to President Joe Biden's nominees is concentrated more among women and people of color, following the public criticism of Haaland as well as resistance to the selection of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

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