“History is being made, yet again,” Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday as she swore in Deb Haaland as the first Native American woman as interior secretary — taking over the agency that once said the federal government’s policy of removing tribes from their lands, leading to the Trail of Tears, needed to be even more oppressive.
“The only alternatives left are to civilize or exterminate” indigenous people, then-Secretary of the Interior Alexander H.H. Stuart wrote in the 1851 Report of the Interior.
Some 200 years later, Haaland, a congresswoman from New Mexico when nominated, spoke then of what it meant.
“This moment is profound when we consider the fact that a former secretary of the interior once proclaimed his goal to, quote, ‘civilize or exterminate’…