Interior Sec. Deb Haaland Broke Her Leg While Visiting a National Park in Virginia

The Biden administration official and avid runner was hiking at Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park on Sunday when she injured her left fibula, the Interior Department said

Deb Haaland
Deb Haaland. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

Interior Sec. Deb Haaland, a Biden administration official who oversees the country's national parks, injured herself while visiting a national park over the weekend.

Haaland, 61, broke her left leg while hiking at Virginia's Shenandoah National Park on Sunday, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced.

"An evaluation this morning confirmed a break to her left fibula," the agency said in a statement on Monday, according to The Washington Post.

Haaland, an avid runner who completed the Boston Marathon last year on Indigenous Peoples' Day, was treated for her injury at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

"She is grateful to Park staff, the U.S. Park Police, and the team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for their excellent care," the statement reads.

An Interior Department spokesperson did not say how Haaland was hurt but did say that she will not need surgery, according to The Albuquerque Journal, which noted that the secretary resumed her normal work schedule remotely on Monday afternoon.

Haaland, nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021, is the first Native American to hold a Cabinet-level position. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe.

"A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior," Haaland tweeted in December 2020 after Biden chose her as a nominee for the agency that manages the country's federal lands and natural resources.

"Growing up in my mother's Pueblo household made me fierce," she wrote on Twitter at the time. "I'll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve."

Writing about her participation in the Boston Marathon, Haaland discussed how running is part of the cultural history of Indigenous people.

"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," she wrote in an op-ed for The Boston Globe last year. "Native American runners saved lives during the tragedies of colonization. Now, traditional foot races in our Pueblo villages honor those who were strong and fast. I run because my ancestors gave me this ability."

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