Saturday, December 16, 2023

About Native Women

Earlier this week I was at a holiday gathering in Washington DC. Across the room, I saw the Native woman who wrote one of my all-time favorite children's books: Sharice Davids. Her book, Sharice's Big Voice came out in 2021. Here's the cover:

Some context: 

Back in 2016, Native people were excited when Sharice Davids was running to represent Kansas in the U.S. House. She's Ho-Chunk. During that same time, Deb Haaland was running to represent New Mexico. She is Laguna. There was a lot of joy when they won!

And when they were sworn in, Native people shared the footage from CBS of Davids and Haaland embracing. From then on, they were Representative Davids, and Representative Haaland.  Here's a screen capture from the CBS video:

I remember being so excited! And of course, I thought that we need some children's books about them. Now--in 2023--there are several books. What made meeting Sharice Davids even better was when I was saw she had Laurel Goodluck's biography of Deb Haaland with her. 

The event was hosted by Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland. In 2021, President Biden selected her to serve in his Cabinet. On the other side of the wall where that photo of me and Representative Davids was taken, Secretary Haaland was about to speak to all of us who were there for the holiday gathering. 

Why was I there? Well, my daughter--Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese--invited me to go with her. In April of 2023, she began working as the Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs in President Biden's Domestic Policy Council. When Secretary Haaland delivered her remarks that night, she said a few things about Liz and her work on the 2023 Tribal Nations Summit! Of course, I was beaming. I am so proud of her! 

As I reflect back on that night, I feel a tremendous sense of community. The community of Native women who devote time and energy to make change in the lives of Native people. I'm in that community, too, like my mom is, and like my grandmother was. As 2024 approaches, the memory of that gathering warms my entire being. I'll close by saying Kú'daawó'háa to Liz and everyone who works for the well-being of Native children, in whatever way you do. It matters. 

Again, Kú'daawó'háa. 


Ask for the books at your local library!
Sharice's Big Voice by Sharice Davids
She Persisted: Deb Haaland by Laurel Goodluck
Deb Haaland: First Native American Cabinet Secretary by Matthew Martinez and Jill Doerfloer
What Your Ribbon Skirt Means to Me: Deb Haaland's Historic Inauguration by Alexis Bunten
Native Women Changing Their Worlds by Patricia J. Cutright