U.S. Secretary of the Interior Meets USAID Partners

The delegation discussed the priorities and challenges of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil

January, 2023 - U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, lead the official Presidential Delegation of the United States of America on behalf of President Joe Biden to the presidential Inauguration of His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil. Secretary Haaland was joined by Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, Juan Gonzalez, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil, Douglas A. Koneff, and USAID Environment Director Catherine Hamlin.

In addition to attending the inauguration, Secretary Haaland met with Joênia Wapichana (President of FUNAI), Toya Manchineri (Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, COIAB), and other Indigenous leaders that implement USAID supported projects.

“I was honored to represent President Biden, our administration, and the American people at President Lula’s inauguration and to celebrate the longstanding and important partnership between the United States and Brazil,” said Secretary Haaland. “Our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, Indigenous peoples, equitable economic growth, environmental protection, and other core values makes us natural partners. The Biden-Harris administration intends to use every opportunity to broaden and deepen that partnership with President Lula’s government in the years to come.”

The delegation discussed the priorities and challenges of Indigenous peoples in Brazil, opportunities to deepen collaboration between U.S. and Indigenous communities, and the existing partnership with the USAID to engage communities whose lives depend on the integrity and conservation of the Brazilian Amazon ecosystem. The Agency  has a long history of working with Indigenous Peoples in the world and in Brazil. USAID supports the implementation of the National Policy for the Territory and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands and management plans created by the communities.

Samatha Power, USAID administrator, also commented on the inauguration, tweeting: Parabéns to #Brazil on today’s inauguration of President @LulaOficial – the result of a free and fair election. Looking forward to continuing our partnership w/ the Brazilian people to combat climate change, protect the #Amazon, support the rights of Indigenous Peoples and more.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has a long history of collaboration with Brazilian counterparts on a wide range of environmental and natural resources issues. The U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation engage in technical exchanges with the National Water Agency, on topics such as hydrologic surveys and dam safety. The US Forest Service partners with ICMBio and IBAMA to conserve and manage protected areas. In 2022, with the support of USAID, these organizations helped to train the first all women Indigenous fire brigades with the Xerente and Apinajé peoples. Most recently, in November, USAID facilitated an international dialogue between officials from six U.S. Tribes and Indigenous representatives from the Brazilian Amazon.