During Native American Heritage Month, HRC honors the culture and traditions of Native Americans who have indelibly shaped our nation as we know it today.
Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist
During Native American Heritage Month, HRC honors the culture and traditions of Native Americans who have indelibly shaped our nation as we know it today. On November 6, Native Americans are among the hundreds of pro-equality candidates running on the federal, state and local levels to better represent ALL Americans.
A record number of openly LGBTQ, women and minority candidates could usher in a new makeup of Congress next year. HRC has endorsed nearly 480 pro-equality candidates during the 2018 midterms, including out congressional candidate Sharice Davids. If elected to represent Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, Davids would be the first Native American lesbian representative to serve in Congress.
Another HRC-endorsed candidate is Deb Haaland, who would also become one of the nation’s first Native American congresswomen if elected to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. HRC also endorsed Peggy Flanagan to be Minnesota’s next lieutenant governor. If elected, Flanagan would be the first Native woman to serve in that office or any statewide office in the North Star State.
Despite these significant milestones for Native American representation, there is still more work to do.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against overturning North Dakota’s controversial voter ID law that would disportionately suppress Native Americans’ right to vote. In addition, indigenous people still face a host of challenges including higher rates of poverty, unemployment and HIV, including those who are LGBTQ and two-spirit -- those who identify outside of modern understandings of sexual orientation or gender identity.
As Native Americans reclaim their cultural and religious traditions lost to colonization and westward expansion, it is vital that we continue to elevate the voices and stories of those who are two-spirit and LGBTQ. Hopefully, electing pro-equality Native American candidates up and down the ballot will be a significant step forward in achieving that goal.