Tribal Nations strong Presence Felt During 116th Congress Swearing-In
Washington, D.C. – January 04, 2019 – Over the course of the first week of the New Year, Tribal Leaders throughout Indian Country journeyed to our nation’s capital to witness the swearing-in of the historic 116th Congress. For Indian Country, it could not be more monumental than the election of the first two Native American women in the Nation’s history to serve in Congress. Representatives Debra Haaland (NM-1, Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (KS-3, Ho-Chunk Nation) will join Representatives Tom Cole (OK-4, Chickasaw Nation) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-2, Cherokee Nation) as the only enrolled Tribal Members serving in Congress. On Wednesday, many Tribal leaders and representatives witnessed the swearing-in of our friends from the Senate and House. Newly-elected Senator Kevin Cramer (ND) met visited with Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. shortly after his swearing-in, as did incumbent Senator Jon Tester (MT). Tribal Leaders traveled to Washington to meet, for the first time, the freshman class of the 116th Congress, including over 100 new members of the House of Representatives. Chairman Stevens was able to provide a pertinent reminder of Native Americans’ role in shaping this democracy and our growing presence on Capitol Hill. The swearing-in events concluded with a special reception at National Indian Gaming Association’s D.C. office honoring Representatives Haaland and Davids. Most Tribal Leaders stated that Indian Country stands ready to do the work necessary to protect our treaty rights and sovereignty. They also expressed the need for a continued partnership with the Administration and Congress, ending the day on an optimistic note with several Congressional visitors stating their intention to advance Indian Country’s key issues this legislative term. Representatives Betty McCollum (MN-4), Gwen Moore (WI- 4), Norma Torres (CA-35), and newly-elected Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2), attended the reception to congratulate their new colleagues. A special thank you is owed to the Mescalero Apache and Poarch Band Creek of Indians who helped co-sponsor
several events for Representatives Haaland and Davids, as well as Emily’s List reception at the National Indian Gaming Association, honoring these two Congresswomen. The evening concluded with a celebratory reception for our Native Congresswomen and native veterans at the Hyatt Regency, hosted by over 20 tribes and tribal organizations, including the National Indian Gaming Association. Of the celebrities sighted, Mark Ruffalo, an advocate for Indian Country, expressed his excitement and gratitude to be invited to take part of the night’s festivities with all of the tribal citizens and advocates present. Other presenters included Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) joined their colleagues voicing their support for the continuing collaboration between political parties to reach common ground on pressing Tribal concerns.
Two Native American Women become Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Debra Haaland (NM-1, Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (KS-3, Ho-Chunk Nation.) They joined Representatives Tom Cole (OK-4, Chickasaw Nation) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-2, Cherokee Nation) in the 116th Congress.
2 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
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