US: Native Americans Take Power

Source: In These Times

THEY WENT LOW—VERY LOW—AND SHARICE DAVIDS WENT TO WASHINGTON.After a congressional campaign marred by a local Republican official’s racist and mean-spirited Twitter threat to send the Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member back “to the reservation,” the good people of Kansas voted to send Davids to Congress instead. Davids, a Democrat, ousted a four-term Republican incumbent by campaigning on equality, including for LGBTQ Kansans like herself.

Davids, a professional mixed martial arts fighter and licensed lawyer, put it this way in a campaign ad that showed her working out and kicking a punching bag: “It’s 2018, and women, Native Americans, gay people, the unemployed and underemployed have to fight like hell just to survive. It’s clear Trump and the Republicans in Washington don’t give a damn about anyone like me or anyone who doesn’t think like them.”

Davids joins New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, of Laguna Pueblo, to become the first Native American women to serve in Congress in its 230-year history. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, famously met the two women shortly after their election and knelt in homage.

Both represent districts that are diverse racially, economically and socially, with white, black, Native American, Asian American and Latino people in rural communities, towns and cities. Davids’ district encompasses Kansas City, Kan., while Haaland’s centers on Albuquerque.

Davids and Haaland (who calls herself “a 35th-generation New Mexican”) credit their success to time-honored traditions, especially the strength of their mothers, grandmothers and other women forebears. They will join two current Native American congressmen, both Republicans from Oklahoma—Tom Cole, Chickasaw, and Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee—to make up a record number of tribal citizens in Congress at one time.

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