Powerful Native Women

Teyanna Kaibetoney, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Two Native American women make history as they head to congress. Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation from Kansas and Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna from New Mexico changed history by being the first Native American women to be elected to congress in the November 2018 midterms.

The 2018 midterms brought forward a new wave of representation for many people. Women, LGBTQ, Muslims, and Native Americans are representing minority groups and are going to Washington. This was a huge step in Native American history specifically, as indigenous people weren’t considered citizens until 1924 and weren’t able to vote until 1948. Native Americans celebrate the win of Davids and Haaland in hopes of indigenous people’s voices not being silenced or ignored any longer.

While this year’s midterms brought great changes, there is still alleged voter suppression.

In North Dakota for example, voters are required to have a current residential address to vote, but Native Americans living on reservations don’t have a street address so this prevents them from voting. This voter suppression proved to many Native Americans that their voices still aren’t being heard, but with the win of Davids and Haaland, there could be a long-lasting change. While the Native Americans in North Dakota were affected by the voter suppression, during this year’s midterms they did get to witness someone like them win in Kansas and New Mexico, and that is a powerful thing to see.

The native women who won this midterm election proved they are powerful and inspiring, but some people don’t see indigenous women as powerful. Indigenous women still experience the highest rates of violence, rape, and murder than any other ethnic group. This crisis is known as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and has been happening for decades. With new representation, there is hope for change and protection for Indigenous women. Not only are Davids and Haaland indigenous women who will instill change, but their win shows the true strength of indigenous women.

Many indigenous communities consider women to be sacred. In the Dine (Navajo) Nation, women are the ones who typically own land, and have positions of power. The Dine Nation also believes in Mother Earth and Father Sky. The Earth is seen as feminine and the sky as masculine. Each have important and equal roles of empowerment. Davids and Haaland are enforcing that philosophy of women’s equality. They are decolonizing a nation that forced assimilation, and a nation that doesn’t consider the indigenous perspective. Now the native perspective will be in government and will represent the previously smothered Native American voices.

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland have changed history all while inspiring young Native girls to achieve their dreams. These indigenous women are changing the world by decolonizing, and reconnecting the indigenous world to the nation.