According to our research “Stepping Up and Standing Out,” women are inspired by other…
Indigenous Women Politicians You Should Know About
November is Native American Heritage Month, honoring and acknowledging the rich history and culture of Native American and Indigenous communities. In 2020, we saw a record number of 18 Native American women run as congressional candidates, surpassing the former record of two in 2016. As Native American women build representation in politics, we’re hoping to continue to see this progression of trailblazers in office in 2022. While there is still much progress to be made, we at GOTB would like to highlight some Indigenous women political leaders you should know about.
Sharice Davids is the U.S. Representative from Kansas’ 3rd district. Rep. Davids is the first openly LGBTQ Native American elected to the U.S. Congress and the second Native American woman to serve in Congress after Secretary Deb Haaland. Representative Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin Tribe.
Peggy Flanagan is the 50th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. She is the second Native American woman to be elected to statewide executive office in U.S. history, after Denise Juneau who served as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2009 to 2017. Lt. Governor Flanagan is a member of the White Earth Nation, a Native American band located in northwestern Minnesota.
Secretary Deb Haaland is the 54th U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. Secretary Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo, a Native American Pueblo tribe in West-Central New Mexico, and a 35th generation New Mexican. Secretary Haaland was the first Native American woman elected to lead a state party after running for New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
Former Idaho House of Representatives member Paulette Jordan became the first Native American woman nominee for governor in the U.S. in 2018. She is a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and a descendant of the Moses and Kamiakin Tribe.
Denise Juneau was the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Minnesota from 2009 to 2017. She is the first Native American woman to be elected to statewide office in the United States. She is a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes and a descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe.
Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson was the first Native American woman to be elected to a state legislature seat in 1924. Anderson was also the first woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives covering Baraga, Iron, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon Counties. She was a member of the Ojibwa tribe, one of the largest Native American tribes in the U.S.
Mary Peltola is the U.S. Representative from Alaska’s at-large district. Rep. Peltola became Alaska’s first woman and first Native member in Congress, when she was elected in 2021. She is a Yup’ik Alaska Native and also served on the Orutsararmiut Native Council Tribal Court.