Rep. Deb Haaland Wants You to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day by Casting Your Vote

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When Rep. Deb Haaland won her seat in 2018, she made history alongside Rep. Sharice Davids as the first Native American women elected to Congress. Two years later, in the middle of a presidential election and with our country in crisis, the trailblazing politician shares her view on how we can all best honor Indigenous Peoples' Day today. Haaland encourages every American to seize this moment to "step into our collective power, and rise to the challenge and create an equal and just nation for all." And, she argues, one of the best ways to do that is for eligible voters to exercise that right on behalf of Native American communities — and our shared future.

Vote to protect the safety of Indigenous, and all, women and girls.

"The stakes of this election are like none we've ever seen," Haaland tells POPSUGAR. "So today, I would encourage you to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day. Celebrate our resilience, our strength, our contributions, and our existence. Then vote like your life depends on it — because it does. Vote to protect our planet. Vote to ensure our treaty rights are recognized. Vote for better jobs, fair wages, and better healthcare. Vote to protect the safety of Indigenous, and all, women and girls. Vote for our future."

In the above never-before-seen footage captured during the filming of the documentary And She Could Be Next, we get an inside look at how Rep. Haaland's family's own uniquely American story informed her politics and encouraged her to run to empower communities who were too often disempowered. And while the footage may have been captured in 2018 and 2019, it could not feel more timely today.

Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of IllumiNative, tells POPSUGAR it's important to spend today honoring not only the contributions of Native communities, but by facing and working to combat their continued marginalization, which And She Could Be Next and Haaland's campaign highlighted.

"Rep. Deb Haaland, along with other Native women elected to office, such as Rep. Sharice Davids and Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, have broken barriers and serve as a symbol of hope to Native communities," Echo Hawk says. "Their work and leadership has been transformative, not only for the constituencies that they serve but also in the larger battle against the profound invisibility Native communities face. On this Indigenous Peoples' Day and every day, I hope that this film helps to challenge misconceptions and remind Americans that Native people exist and deserve to be heard and represented."