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If confirmed, Congresswoman Deb Haaland will be the first indigenous person to lead the department, which also plays a key role in Native American affairs. — Mary Trump Thinks Her Uncle’s Postpresidency Woes Are Just Beginning— There’s a Wave of COVID Patients Who Don’t Believe It’s Real— Doug Band: Confessions of a Clintonworld Exile— Will Rupert Murdoch Spring for a Postpresidential Fox Gig?— Ivanka Desperately Tries to Rehab Her Image on Her Way Out— After Remaking CNN and Antagonizing Trump, Jeff Zucker Eyes the Exits— With COVID Vaccines Approaching, Is the FDA Ready to Inspect Where They’re Made?— From the Archive: Probing the Nightmare Reality of Randy Quaid and His Wife, Evi— Not a subscriber? By Jennifer Bendery Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) made history in 2018 as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, along with Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas). Of the roughly 12,000 people elected to the United States Congress since 1789, only 300 have been of Native American descent—and none of that group were women. But observers like Trahant believe the presence of Haaland and Davids on Capitol Hill will make an indelible imprint on the Native American consciousness. (CNN) — The first two Native American women elected to Congress hugged on the House floor Thursday after being officially sworn in. Her nomination, a source told the Washington Post, reflects “Biden’s determination to confront long-running injustices toward indigenous people in America, and to finally and fully uphold our country’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations.”, The pick is a victory for progressive Democrats, activists and tribal leaders who for weeks had been advocating for Haaland. “Standing Rock was one of those moments that whether or not they were successful in blocking the pipeline, that idea that you can use this new-found authority to do things was something that I think was infectious,” Trahant says. The dramatic election results come at the apex of America's reckoning with issues of sexual harassment and the power dynamics that have stifled women's voices throughout history. For example, in October the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota filed a complaint about a voter identification law the tribe said disenfranchised voters living on reservations. The district includes most of Albuquerque, along with most of its suburbs. Haaland is a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Indian country will see how important it is to have full representation, to show that Americans need to include the first Americans as part of the national discourse,” Trahant says. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. ", “The Department of the Interior has a long history of inflicting pain on Native communities and infringing on tribal sovereignty,” Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of Illuminative, said in statement. To get a sense of how significant Haaland’s presence in Congress would be, consider that more than 10,000 people have served in the House and nearly 1,300 have served in the Senate since the first Congress met in 1789. Speaking to Huffpost in November about whether she'd be interested in such a role, Haaland said, "I think it's a time in our world―not just in our country, but our entire world―to listen to Indigenous people when it comes to climate change, when it comes to our environment. Other LGBTQ candidates included Gov. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images. Davids and fellow Democrat Deb Haaland of New Mexico, a Laguna Pueblo, are the first Native American women to serve in Congress. Along with Sharice Davids, she is one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. Many observers credit the Dakota Access Pipeline protests that began in 2016 for igniting a flurry of Native American political activism. Ilhan Omar of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party replaces Representative Keith Ellison, who won his race for Attorney General. (CNN) Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congress, CNN has projected. “My grandmother used to clean diesel train engines with a bucket of kerosene and a brush,” Haaland says. From the #MeToo Movement to the contentious confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the fractious response fueled the rise of women in the political sphere. Tribal leaders are urging the president-elect to make history by picking the Native American congresswoman to oversee public lands. Haaland is one of the first two Native American women in the House. These are … Haaland made history as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, in 2018. Reps. Deb Haaland Deb Haaland Washington state … If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Native American to serve in the position, leading a department that “oversees the federal government's relationship with 567 federally recognized tribes and 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives,” according to Axios. This is a list of Native American politicians in the United States. The selection is a victory for progressive Democrats, activists and tribal leaders who urged Biden to consider Haaland for a top job. Democrat Deb Haaland of New Mexico is one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. And I think that is more important than any single election.”, Inside Deb Haaland’s historic bid to become one of the first Native congresswomen, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2018/11/debra-haaland-first-native-american-congresswoman-new-mexico-midterm-election.html. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) became the first Native American woman to sit in the House Speaker's chair as she presided over a floor debate on a voting rights and campaign finance bill. Native Americans have faced the same challenges of voter suppression strategies like poll taxes and literacy tests that African Americans are still enduring to this day. All rights reserved. In March 2020, Davids quarantined herself for possible exposure to coronavirus. Dozens of House Democrats have called on President-elect Joe Biden to make the New Mexico congresswoman the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Democratic Reps. Deb … The first two Native American women to be elected to Congress shared a moment on Thursday after being sworn in. © 2021 Condé Nast. Besides being an attorney, Davids is an openly gay mixed martial arts fighter, and was joined by several other LGBTQ candidates who made their mark this election season. The historic impact of their victories can’t be overstated, says Mark Trahant, editor of the Indian Country Today newspaper. And in Michigan and Minnesota, the first Muslim women were elected to Congress as Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib will fill the seat vacated by Representative John Conyers. Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation from Kansas, will be the first Native American women to serve in Congress… US President-elect Joe Biden has chosen congresswoman Deb Haaland to serve as the first Native American interior secretary, US media reported Thursday, in … In perhaps the most historic milestone of the 2018 mid-term elections, the United States Congress will soon welcome its first two Native American … Davids is the daughter of a single mother Army veteran, and Haaland’s (non-Indian) father was a marine who won a Silver Star and is buried in Arlington. 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