On Thursday President-elect Joe Biden chose Rep. Deb Haaland serves as the first Native American Cabinet secretary and head the Interior Department, a historic pick that marks a turning point for the U.S. government’s relationship with the nation’s Indigenous peoples.

The media is calling the appointment a “historic turning point” in the U.S. government’s relationship with indigenous peoples.

Haaland is now vice president of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The president-elect’s team calls her “a public servant who ‘breaks down barriers’ and who has devoted her entire career to fighting for families – including indigenous peoples, rural communities and colored communities”.

Her priorities in office will be climate protection, land and clean water conservation, and a transition to “clean” energy. “A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior,” Haaland tweeted Thursday night. “ … I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land”.

In addition to Haaland, Biden has turned to North Carolina environmental regulator Michael S. Regan to become the first Black man to head the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Obama administration veteran Brenda Mallory to serve as the first Black chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.