Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland said at the Netroots Nation conference on Friday that if she is elected, she will be the first Native American woman in Congress.
“My name is Deb Haaland, I’m the Democratic nominee for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. If elected, I would be the first Native American woman in Congress,” Haaland said.
Haaland spoke right before Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who has claimed Native American heritage in the past. Warren’s claims of Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage became a subject of controversy in 2012 when it was revealed she had no documented proof. The senator said she instead relied on family lore to substantiate her ancestry claims.
Warren’s 2012 opponent Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) criticized her for claiming heritage to gain an advantage in her academic career. President Donald Trump often calls Warren “Pocahontas” and has encouraged her to take a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage.
Warren has refused to answer whether she would take the test and instead insists that her family story proves her Native American identity.
“I know who I am because of what my mother and my father told me, what my grandmother and my grandfather told me, what all my aunts and uncles told me and my brothers. It’s a part of who I am, and no one’s ever going to take that away,” Warren said.
The New York Times even notes that no Native American woman have served in Congress.
Now, she is among a historic number of Native American women running for elective office. None has ever served in Congress, but that could change this year if Ms. Haaland wins.
There are currently only two members of Congress with Native American heritage, Oklahoma Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole, both Republicans.