With the announcement of our first Native American US Poet Laureate earlier this week, I wanted to highlight that and a few more Native American “firsts” that were recently accomplished (in no particular order):
- Earlier this week, Joy Harjo (Muscogee Creek Nation) became the first Native American US Poet Laureate making her the official Poet of the United States!
- Last November, we elected our first Native Americans into Congress, Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation). Since election, they are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Sharice Davids also identifies as Lesbian which makes her the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Congress from Kansas, and she’s an ex-MMA fighter.
- Earlier this month Wes Studi (Cherokee Nation) became the first Native American to win an Oscar. This is the second time that Wes Studi has made Oscars history; last year he was the first Native American presenter AND he even spoke Cherokee!
- Last month, the Netflix series Chambers released starring Sivan Alyra Rose (San Carlos Apache) making her the first Native American to star in a Netflix series, and the first Native American woman to star in a mainstream TV show. She acted along side Uma Thurman and other well known actors. The series also included several Native actors, and themes and plot points that come straight from Indian Country almost as if the show was targeted to a Native American audience (from what I’ve read, I haven’t seen it yet). Sadly the show was canceled after the first season, but Natives are active on social media platforms in attempts to bring it back!
Did I miss something? Please share if you know of any other “firsts” that happened lately.