Big Wins for Indigenous Women in America

Native American women have a new role in D.C. After this year’s midterm elections, a new precedent was set. Two Native American women were elected to Congress. One was Sharice Davids, a lesbian and former Mixed Martial Arts fighter, in Kansas. The other was Deb Haaland. She will be representing New Mexico! Given the large Native American populations in both Kansas and New Mexico, it is about time that there is representation in our federal government from Native American women. This is a milestone for American politics and opens up the future to many generations of Native American women and girls. There is a saying in sociology that says, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ This phrase essentially demonstrates the idea that it is difficult to be a young Native American women and wanting to run for office when you have no role models to look up to. Having women in general is exciting for young girls around the country, and women of color are rare to see in office until relatively recently. Native American women have been criminally underrepresented in office and politics at large, and 2018 will be a turning point for the future of politically inclined young people of the future.

Sharice Davids is a native Kansan, and found herself disheartened by the way indigenous people have been represented in Congress. What better way to fix this problem than to run for office herself! She received her law degree from Cornell University, and worked in the White House as a fellow during the transition from Obama to Trump. She is an expert in economic and social development in Native American communities, and works frequently with the LGBT+ community in Kansas. She has lived and worked on reservations in her state, making her especially knowledgable about the areas she is serving. As a representative of Kansas’s third district, she has many tools and experiences to serve her constituents well. Another interesting fact about Davids is her participation in Mixed Martial Arts! Not only is she smart and qualified, she can throw down in the ring.

Deb Haaland is a champion for the underrepresented. She is firm in her stance to defend all New Mexicans, since our state is so diverse. Her parents are veterans, and she works to serve military family as well. She is a single mom who also attended law school at the University of New Mexico, which is where her daughter also graduated. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. She is also a defender of the LGBT community and even signed to ban conversion camps in New Mexico. She is the first Native American woman in the country to chair a state party. Dedicated to Native American issues across the country, she even traveled to Standing Rock with protesters. Aside from her political career, she is a recognized leader in tribal business and service communities. Planned Parenthood endorsed her run for Congress and she has the backing of many Senators!

2018 has been an amazing year for indigenous women in United States politics. There will be more representation of diversity than ever before and we can look forward to a future of incredible female representatives. Everyone who voted for these amazing women are pushing New Mexico and Kansas into the future, and our future looks brighter than ever before.