The New Mexico Democrat is one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress.
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) invoked her Pueblo heritage on Thursday in a Democratic National Convention address from tribal lands to highlight the importance of voting.
Halaand, an enrolled member of the Pueblo Laguna, became one of the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress in November 2018. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, was the other.
Halaand noted in her speech that "tribal nations have fought for and helped build this country," and explained the importance of voting:
I stand here today a proud 35th generation New Mexican and one of the first Native American women ever elected to congress. I am a symbol of our resilience, as the embodiment of America's progress as a nation.
I know we can't take our democracy for granted, especially now as people are dying, as our land is abused, as our Constitution is under attack. We must work for it, by getting involved, by registering voters, by voting.
Voting is sacred. My people know that. We were not universally granted the right to vote until 1962. And that fundamental right is more important than ever.
Whether your ancestors have been here for hundreds of years or you're a new citizen, know this: whether we vote and how we vote will determine if our nation's promise of social, racial, and environmental justice will outlast us.
Haaland concluded by praising Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as leaders who "respect our past and understand our present."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.