Senate Passes Murkowski, Udall Legislation Honoring Native Women

The Senate recently passed S.Res.444, legislation recognizing the heritage, culture, and contributions of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women in the United States. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced this legislation to celebrate the accomplishments and call attention to the interests of indigenous women across the nation. 

“It’s important that we specifically recognize Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian women for their unique contributions that helped shape our country. Alaska Native women have not only played an integral role in leading their communities forward—fighting to defend the sovereignty for Alaska’s tribal nations—but have also been a key factor in preserving their history, heritage, and culture,” said Senator Murkowski. “The very first anti-discrimination law in the United States, the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, was signed into law 19 years before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was accomplished, in large part, because of a Tlingit woman named Elizabeth Peratrovich who spoke to assembled lawmakers arguing for equality. I commend my Senate colleagues for supporting this legislation to honor the influence of Indigenous women as civil rights activists, warriors, community leaders, and so much more.”

“Generations of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women have shaped every aspect of the American experience and helped pave the way for the leaders, teachers, artists, professionals, activists, thinkers, scientists, and public servants who continue to build on their proud legacy,” said Senator Udall. “I am so proud to see the Senate come together to pass this resolution, which honors the achievements of these groundbreaking women and recognizes their countless contributions to Indian Country and the U.S. as a whole. It should serve as reminder to Members of Congress that we must recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Native women have equal access to the resources and rights that many others take for granted. Current and future generations of Native women deserve nothing less."

Click here for full text of the resolution. 

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released the following statement following the resolution’s introduction.

“The National Congress of American Indians is proud to support this resolution honoring Native women, who have always played an integral role in sustaining tribal cultures and community life. From Sarah Winnemucca to Helen Peterson to Wilma Mankiller, Native women have led tribal nations’ efforts to exercise their inherent sovereignty and create brighter futures for their peoples. We thank the United States Senate for acknowledging and honoring Native women and the immeasurable contributions they have made and continue to make.”