I was recently elected as a Shannon County Commissioner representing District 2 in my hometown of Oglala, South Dakota. Through research based on a the history of Native American women who were elected, I found out I am the youngest in history to hold office and youngest Native elected in the country as a County Commissioner.
This has been a great opportunity for me, there is so much about my own county I was not aware of and hopeful to make positive change in the near future. I recently attended a state wide commission training in Pierre, South Dakota and was faced with many barriers, many of which I did not expect. The biggest challenges to overcome was being a Native American woman who is only 24. You can’t imagine some of the looks I received with the ideal commissioner who is a lot older, comes from/ or married to a ranching family. Nonetheless, I enjoy working with my fellow commissioners from around South Dakota, especially from my County!
I was also scheduled to speak at the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA) conference in Rapid City on a youth panel board about the role young Native people can have in their communities but things didn’t happen that way as mother nature interviened and dropped 26 inches of snow.
With summer fast approaching I am looking forward to attending all the youth activities and powwows. Best of luck to NYLA FELLOWS new and future…thank you Kevin and Sophia for all your wonderful work!!