The Embrace that Made Indian Country Proud: Two American Indian Congresswomen Hug on House Floor

Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo and Rep. Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) embrace on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives chambers in the nation’s Capitol on January 3, 2019.

Published Januarcy 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Thursday was truly a historic day in American Indian history. For the first time ever an American Indian woman became a member of Congress. Actually, it was two because two American Indian women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November’s general election.

Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District and Rep. Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) represents the 3rd Congressional District in Kansas.

It took until the 116th Congress for this historic event to happen.

So, when the cameras caught footage of the two embracing shortly after being sworn into office on Thursday, January 3, 2019 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, the photographs circulutated around social media and on national television news networks.

During an EMILY’s List reception late Thurday afteroon at the National Indian Gaming Association, Rep. Davids told supporters about the embrace:

“I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to participate in this with Deb Haaland. As soon we got down with the swearing in,  I walked over and gave her a big hug.

Just to know that I have someone that is an amazing strong Native woman to go through this with, so that we can really bring a new voice to Congress so we can make sure that people remember and people know what are history has been, but what is happening right now and we are still here. That we have in important voice that needs to be heard in Congress. Now it is going to be happening in a way that it has not happened before.”

The two American Indian women join two American Indian men as members of Congress. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma – 4th Congressional District) is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma – 2nd Congressional District) is a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Both men were reelected in November.

Related: Two American Indian Women Shatter the Glass Ceiling into Congress; Will be Sworn in Today

Mark Charles contributed to this article from Washington, D.C.


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