National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated each year in November. It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and affiliated Island communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation. This November and every month, we celebrate the culture and heritage of these remarkable Americans who deeply enrich the quality and character of our Nation. Native American political representation in the U.S. has a history of both advancement and ongoing challenges. Indigenous peoples have historically experienced disenfranchisement, displacement, and structural injustice. Native Americans have achieved significant progress in the area of political representation in spite of these obstacles.
Given the unfavorable historical trends of midterm elections for parties in power, we are all the more proud of our role in stopping a red wave, reaching record Democratic turnout, flipping key races from red to blue, and helping to power diverse candidates. Here are some strides made toward Native American political representation and support for indigenous communities:
Sharice Davids Is Here to Stay
DSPolitical served ads to help Sharice Davids win her re-election bid to represent KS-03. Rep. Davids is one of the first Native American women to win election to U.S. Congress and the first openly LGBTQ+ Native American. Sharice has lived and worked on Native American reservations, working with tribes to create economic development opportunities, programs, and initiatives. With her recent swearing-in, it became official for the first time in more than 230 years: A Native American, an Alaska Native, and a Native Hawaiian are all members of the House. Learn more about Sharice Davids here.
Pioneering Advanced New Targeting Strategies to Defend Tribal Sovereignty
DSPolitical & AKPD utilized ACR Data to target voters through CTV who had watched ads in support of California’s Prop 27, persuading them to vote “No” in order to preserve tribal sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty ensures that any decisions about Tribes with regard to their property and citizens are made with their participation and consent. Find the full success story here.
Kaiali’I Kahele Is an Advocate for Education
Senator Kahele is a strong proponent of job creation through strengthening workforce opportunities and small businesses. As an advocate for education, he continues to work towards making college more accessible and affordable for Hawai‘i’s students. Learn more about what Senator Kahele is doing for Hawaii here.
Respect Act Signed Into Law
The Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act will repeal 11 outdated federal laws that directly discriminated against Native Americans. The laws abolished by the RESPECT Act were all more than 100 years old and were passed without Tribal consent.
Mary Peltola Is Empowering Her Community
Mary Peltola is a Yup’ik Alaska Native, salmon advocate, and Democrat who represented the Bethel region in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years. Her victory, which flipped the seat for Democrats for the first time in 50 years, was considered an upset. Learn more about Mary and her policies here.
The importance of representation in politics for Native Americans cannot be overstated. As we celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month, it is essential to recognize the ongoing challenges. By providing support for Native American communities, we can further enhance their political representation.