Murkowski, Udall Introduce Legislation Honoring Native Women

Celebrating Achievements in Civil Rights, Business, Law, Medicine, Science, Language Revitalization, and More

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a resolution to celebrate and honor the successes of indigenous women across the nation. Their resolution recognizes the heritage, culture, and contributions of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women in the United States, highlighting the importance of promoting equity, providing safety, and upholding the interests of strong, diverse women.

“As we celebrate women across the globe on International Women’s Day, it’s important that the efforts of Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian women and how they helped shape our country is recognized. Alaska Native women have not only played an integral role in leading their communities forward but have also been a key factor in preserving their history, heritage, and culture,” said Senator Murkowski. “The influence of women like Elizabeth Peratrovich, who fought for civil rights and against widespread discrimination against Alaska Natives was truly monumental. Women like Elizabeth should be celebrated, commended, and remembered for generations to come. My hope is that by honoring them, we are also inspiring a future generation of leaders.”

“During Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the contributions, the service, and the sacrifices of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women – enriching their communities and the United States as a whole,” said Senator Udall. “I am proud to work with Senator Murkwoski and Senator Heinrich on this resolution to lift up the accomplishments of so many groundbreaking Native women – including Native New Mexican women like Santa Clara Pueblo’s Floy Agnes Lee, who pioneered radiation biology research, and Ohkay Owingeh’s Esther Martinez, who dedicated her life to Native language revitalization. As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I will continue to fight for legislation and policies that will honor the legacy of their work and ensure future generations of Native women have the tools, rights, and opportunities they need to thrive.”  

In 2018, Senators Murkowski and Udall introduced a similar resolution honoring indigenous women that later passed the Senate unanimously.

Click here for full text of the resolution.

Resolution excerpts:

  • Whereas American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women have played a vital role in advancing civil rights, protecting human rights, and safeguarding the environment, including Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich of the Tlingit Nation who helped secure the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 of the Alaska Territory, the first anti-discrimination law in the United States.
    • Whereas American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women have succeeded as judges, attorneys, and legal advocates, including Eliza “Lyda” Conley, a Wyandot-American lawyer and the first Native woman admitted to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court in 1909.
    • Whereas American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women have achieved distinctive honors in the art of dance, including Maria Tall Chief of the Osage Nation the first major prima ballerina of the United States and was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center.
    • Whereas American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women have paved the way for women in the law, including Native Hawaiian Emma Kailikapiolono Metcalf Beckley Nakuina who served as the first female judge in Hawaii.

Additional bill cosponsors:

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Cory Booker (D-NJ); Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Cortez Masto (D-NV); Steve Daines (R-MT); Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Kamala Harris (D-CA); Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Mazie Hirono; (D-HI); John Hoeven (R-ND); Tim Kaine (D-VA); Angus King (I-ME); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); James Lankford (R-OK); Martha McSally (R-AZ); Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Jerry Moran (R-KS); Patty Murray (D-WA); Jacky Rosen (D-NV); Bernard Sanders (I-VT); Brian Schatz (D-HI); Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Tina Smith (D-MN); Jon Tester (D-MT); Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Ron Wyden (D-OR).