SPOTLIGHT

This Could Be the Year of the Native American Woman

At least four are running for Congress or statewide office.

FILE - In this March 27, 2017, file photo, Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Debra Haaland is among protesters outside a luncheon attended by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in Albuquerque, N.M. Holland has joined the primary race for an open congressional seat in central New Mexico which is set to become one of the most diverse in the country. A Native American woman, an openly gay white male, a Hispanic former U.S. Attorney, a Sandia National Laboratories physicist and a conservative immigration lawyer are among the candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan
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Zach C. Cohen
Feb. 16, 2018, 9:24 a.m.

Attorney Sharice Davids on Thursday became the latest to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas. But Davids, a member of Ho-Chunk nation, is also one of at least four Native American women running for higher office as a Democrat.

If successful, Davids or Deb Haaland, who is running to replace Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Haaland, who belongs to the Pueblo of Laguna, was the first Native American woman to chair a state party when she led the New Mexico Democrats in 2016.

Former Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan hopes to become the country’s first female indigenous governor. In an interview Friday, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe citizen said her background gave her a rural “value system” that could break Democrats’ quarter-century-long losing streak for that office.

Minnesota state Rep. Peggy Flanagan, a White Earth Nation of Ojibwe citizen, is the running mate of Rep. Tim Walz, who won a straw poll of party activists last week ahead of the competitive primary and general election for governor.

Haaland, Jordan, and Flanagan were all in D.C. this week, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave her most expansive remarks yet on her family’s Native American heritage at National Congress of American Indians.

— Zach C. Cohen

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