Elections 2018: Native American Women Make History

Last week, more than 110 million Americans cast ballots to elect new members of the United States Congress as part of the midterm election. Their votes resulted in many ‘firsts,’ including the first Native American women ever elected to Congress. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are among the 35 newly elected women who will represent their districts in the House of Representatives. A record-breaking 102 women will be serving in the House next year.

Sharice is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and will represent the state of Kansas in Congress. She was raised by a single mother, who spent more than 20 years in the Army, and attended Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas. She also earned a law degree from Cornell Law School and served as a White House Fellow. Sharice is an expert on economic and community development in Native communities and has worked with tribes to create economic development programs, opportunities and initiatives.

Deb is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and will represent the state of New Mexico in Congress. Deb’s parents served in the military for many years. She earned a law degree from University of New Mexico Law School while raising her daughter as a single mother. As the first Chairwoman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, she governs business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico and advocates for policies that support earth-friendly business practices.

As an advocate for self-determination of the tribes, PWNA recognizes the historical significance of Deb and Sharice’s achievements. Earlier this year, PWNA launched its inaugural 4 Directions Development Program (4D) for Strong Native Women, helping to develop stronger female leaders throughout Indian Country, with support of the PepsiCo Foundation. Electing Native American leaders into Congress gives a voice to the unique barriers Native communities face, while also introducing a new perspective and solutions to address shared concerns across their districts.

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