Haaland completes Boston Marathon - Albuquerque Journal

Haaland completes Boston Marathon

Deb Haaland, the firrst Native American Cabinet secretary, finished the 125th Boston Marathon on Indigenous People’s Day.

Despite traveling regularly around the country as interior secretary, former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico is still getting her miles in.

The first Native American Cabinet secretary was among the more than 15,000 runners who completed in the Boston Marathon, which was held on Indigenous Peoples Day this year for the first time, instead of on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April.

Haaland, 60, cruised the iconic point-to-point course in 4 hours, 58 minutes on Monday, according to the Boston Athletic Association’s website. It was the 125th running of the race.

“I will not be on the winner’s podium, but I am running my own race. We all have our paths that bring us to the starting line,” Haaland wrote in an op-ed in the Boston Globe. “I started running about 20 years ago. Along the way to running my first marathon, I began to think deeply about the story of my people who have used running not only to get places but to preserve their traditions and culture.”

Haaland highlighted the Indigenous runners who have won the event and the cultural significance running has in Native American culture.

“In the days of my ancestors, runners ran from house to house and village to village to spread news. In the high desert, runners kept watch for spring floods, alerting villagers and sprinting to the fields to capture water for that year’s crops. Native American runners saved lives during the tragedies of colonization,” she wrote. “Now, traditional foot races in our pueblo villages honor those who were strong and fast. I run because my ancestors gave me this ability.”

Melanie Stansbury

Stansbury made her remarks during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing. Stansbury, who recently traveled to Puerto Rico, said four years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Ricans are faced with daily blackouts, high electricity bills and just 2.5% of the island’s electricity comes from renewable sources. That’s despite a 2019 law, the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, which calls on the island’s electricity authority to use 40% renewables by 2025.

The first-term New Mexico representative asked Fernando Gil, the board chairman of the utility, what can be done to increase the island’s renewable energy portfolio. Gil said repairs are beginning on the island’s renewable energy sources.

“The people of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District stand united with the people of Puerto Rico in demanding energy justice and grid modernization and the social, economic and environmental imperative of doing so,” Stansbury said during the hearing. She is the second member of the New Mexico delegation to advocate for Puerto Ricans on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, fellow Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich introduced a bill to make the island the 51st state.

Ryan Boetel: rboetel@abqjournal.com


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