Native American women have a chance to make history in the 2018 elections

Minnesota State Representative Peggy Flanagan speaks during the final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 28, 2016, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)Peggy Flanagan, a Minnesota state representative running for lieutenant governor

The historic number of women running for office this year brings with it other opportunities to make history. Like the possibility of the first Native American woman elected to Congress or as a governor, the New York Times’ s Julie Turkewitz reports.

In all, there are at least four indigenous women running for Congress, three more are bidding for governors’ offices and another 31 are campaigning for seats in state legislatures — from both sides of the aisle. […]

Montana has more than a dozen Native Americans running for the state house this year. Utah tribes are pushing the governor to make a seat for them in his cabinet. Five native people serve in the Minnesota legislature, and four of them are women.

“American Indians have been invisible for so long, in so many sectors in society,” said Denise Juneau, who was among the first native women in the country to be elected to a statewide executive position when she became the Montana schools superintendent in 2009. In that role, she developed an Indian history curriculum that is being replicated across the American West. “To be able to make inroads in the political world,” she said, “is huge.”

It’s past time.

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