NIWRC Recognizes Historic 'Lift Up' of Native Women to Congress in 2021



(LAME DEER, Mont., November 7, 2020)—The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center sends a stronghearted congratulations to all of the Indigenous leaders elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as our appreciation to all of the American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who participated in their democracy by casting their votes this year.

“Indigenous representation matters, especially when we are talking about visibility of Native women in positions at the highest levels of federal and state government,” said NIWRC Executive Director Lucy Simpson, a citizen of the Navajo Nation. “We are humbled by the sheer force and resiliency of these Native women who so bravely stepped forward to be an Indigenous voice on the legislative stage. Native women are the matriarchs in our communities, and the results of this year’s elections showed the restoration of our value of holding women and their leadership as sacred.”

NIWRC is honored to recognize these Indigenous leaders who will serve in the House:

  • Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), New Mexico House of Representatives, District 1 - retained her seat for a second term and is one of the first Native American women elected to Congress
  • Rep. Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk), Kansas House of Representatives - re-elected for a second term and is one of the first Native women elected to Congress
  • Rep. Yvette Herrell (Cherokee), New Mexico House of Representatives, District 2 - now making the state’s delegates two-thirds Indigenous
  • Rep. Christina Haswood (Diné), Kansas House of Representatives, District 10 - will serve as the youngest member of the state’s legislature and the third Native American representative in Kansas’ history
  • Rep. Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham and Ponca), Kansas House of Representatives, District 103 - re-elected to serve a sixth term
  • Rep. Stephanie Byers (Chickasaw), Kansas House of Representatives, District 86 - the first openly transgender Native American lawmaker in the U.S.

As these Indigenous leaders prepare to begin work in their state or on Capitol Hill, they are truly serving as a symbol of hope and inspiration to future generations of Native youth to make change for their communities. These Indigenous leaders also have a unique opportunity to provide perspective on Indigenous issues, in particular the high rates of violence against Native women and children, a group that is often invisible in American culture due to stereotypes and attempts at erasure of Native identities.

We also wish to congratulate Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis (Isleta Pueblo), who retained her seat on the Washington Supreme Court. Montoya-Lewis is the first Native American justice to be appointed to Washington’s highest court and the second Native American justice in the United States.

NIWRC is a non-partisan nonprofit organization committed to ending violence against American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian women and children. We remain dedicated to restoring safety to Native women by upholding tribal sovereignty tribes and will continue to call for bipartisan efforts to implement policy provisions to protect Native communities from violence.