The Year of the Native Women

These women may make history on election day….you may be able to help them win.


Published October 20, 2018

Since the beginning of the federal legislative branch—230 years ago—there has never been an American Indian woman elected to Congress. This may change on November 6, 2018 because two American Indian women won their party’s nomination in their quest to become members of Congress.

Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) at NCAI last year.

Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) won the Democratic Party’s nomination in the first congressional district in Albuquerque, New Mexico in June among a field of six. The good news is the first congressional district is a heavily Democratic district, which makes her the favorite to win the congressional seat in the mid-term general election in November. The congressional district is a traditionally Democratic district.  In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Hillary Clinton won the district with 52 percent of the vote.

She previously served as the state chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

“I think that if we had a renewable-energy revolution, not only in New Mexico’s District 1, but across the country, that would create thousands and thousands of good-paying, sustainable jobs. That’s, for me, the No. 1 issue,” Haaland commented to “The Nation” in an interview.

In the Kansas side of Kansas City, Ho-Chunk Sharice Davids won the 3rd congressional district Democratic party’s nomination and will face GOP Congressman Kevin Yoder in the general election in November.

Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk is a former White House Fellow.

Raised by a single mother, Davids went on to obtain a law degree from Cornell Law School. During the last year of the Obama administration she served as a White House Fellow. She has served as an economic advisor on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Davids believes small businesses are the lifeblood of America and need to be front of mind when creating economic policy.

While Kansas 3rd congressional district leans Republican, it is was won by Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. This year it is viewed as competitive as evidenced by a visit by Vice President Mike Pence who was in the district to raise funds for Yoder during the primary.

Paulette Jordan (Coeur d’Alene) won the Idaho Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in May. She faces current Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little in the November election. Jordan faces the reality that a Democrat has not been elected governor in Idaho since 1990, but is pleased that she has narrowed to gap to eight points. Little was leading in July by 10 points. Jordan and Little are tied among female voters. Jordan leads among independent voters.

Paulette Jordan at RES talks about her bid to be first female American Indian governor.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Jordan moved back home to Idaho and became the youngest person elected to the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council. She then went on to work as a business development strategist and to serve as Finance Chair on the Executive Board of the National Indian Gaming Association.

If elected, Jordan would become the first female American Indian governor in history.

Political pundits have already dubbed the 2018 midterm elections as the “year of the women.” It very may well be for at least three American Indian women.

Sadly, American Indians sometimes resist fully participating in the American system. Far too often, there is indifference when it comes to American Indians voting.

There can be no denying elected officials, especially in Congress and in governor’s mansions, hold the power to make decisions that are far reaching to Indian Country in terms of business development, housing, healthcare, employment and education.

American Indians need to resolve to go to the polls on November 6th.

Levi Rickert is the publisher/editor of Native News Online.

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