A new story from The Brown Girls Guide to Politics
Background Girls Ashanti Year. The founder of the Brown rose guy to politics. And this is the first three episodes highlighting amazing being digits women in honor native American heritage month. This episode we'll hear from Minnesota. Lieutenant Governor pay again and to share Arnold with the Center for native the American Youth. Lieutenant Governor Flanagan is currently the only native woman serving and statewide elected office. She got her at the local level. And the Minnesota State House versus the champion women and people color as lieutenant governor. She has continued her. Focus on ensuring that Minnesota's underserved populations are not left behind. Thank you so much for joining us today. How are you? I'm doing really well. Thanks so much for having me wonderful so I do WanNa dive right in user your career in the State House and then ran for statewide office. I was one of those mini people. Combat Watch your race in awe in just amazed at how fabulous you are but when we look at the numbers they are not. You'll have women serving statewide office across the US in your carly only native woman seraing out those ninety. What are some of the barriers that using we need to break to seem more native women in elected the office? Will I think one of the things that I want to emphasize is that native women have been leading since time immemorial Amen Native Women Native Americans as a whole are far too underrepresented at local state and federal governments by think As we see the success of Congress Race David's Congressmens homeland as well as Warren Native Women. were running for office is an historic numbers in this past election. I think that's not runoff. It will. It's a trend into the future. I think mainstream society is just catching up to what we've always known that our women our leaders and we absolutely want to be at the table to make decisions that affect our communities and we know that when we have women represent at the table things are different and we see that under your administration Minnesota one the things that I just saw is that the state held a today government to garment tribal relations training with all of your state agencies. And the governor's office in you commented. Our administration has committed to strengthening relationships with all eleven tribal nations in our urban Indian communities in Minnesota. And I think this is a really good example on how states him for better relationships with tribal nations. So what are some of the key lessons that came out of training training that you think other states can be allies ing while I think one of the things that was really important to to the governor and me was to make sure that we we are trying to be a model for the rest of the country in how we essentially build relationships that our governments governments Honored Treaty Rights and tribal sovereignty. And frankly isn't should be seen as a new thing. We are simply doing what has been required of us for for the last one hundred and fifty plus years. Minnesota was a state. So you know my hope. Is that as we are figuring this out. We are working across Ross agencies and figure out how to how to do this well I think education about we are on our tribal governments function as sovereign nations in how they self govern how they possess self-determination for a federal government employees. All of these things are incredibly important for non non native people to understand that we are contemporary people we still exists and I think a big takeaway to for lack of non native people who attended the training was acknowledging the generations of of trauma. Frankly that that have occurred with the people in that you can see some of the effects still to this day but also talk about things like treaties. Treaties aren't just for native people and they are also for non native people are in Minnesota so Minnesota exists exists because of a treaty. And I think it is. It is critically important that we continue to educate folks across government amount of course but more broadly through our K twelve system as well about the people who have always been here are still here and we'll always be here into the future when I think about what you did with the tribal relations training you've been just trendsetters since she stepped foot in local government and during your time in the State House you help create the people of Color in indigenous caucus which focused on improving education health economic opportunities. He's a people cholera in indigenous communities in Minnesota and we all know as around all editions people people color that the spaces are really important. A lot of times people will see them as divisive so from your point of view. Why is important why it's important for us us to create these spaces especially when we have that at the table in the opportunity? Will I think you know. Government works well when it reflects the population at extract present. And so. If we don't house on folks at the table I think that democracy is is unable to flourish so I think part of creating a people caller indigenous caucus was to ensure that we were making our voices heard already but in terms of the people that we represent because for too often decisions have been made about people call our indigenous folks without our input at the table. All we do thanks to communities not without If we're doing this this correctly we're able to bring policy solutions from people who are most directly the affected Those are things that are going to be more long lasting have to be buying in. I think The solutions that worked so part of creating a posse caucus was making sure it could speak on her own behalf but just to Honest to also have a safe place or ourselves for each other to be able to talk about Some of the the issues of racism in systems and really. You know I think about this. Every day I As indigenous woman who serving state government. I am working in a system that was not created by us or for us and in many instances was is created to eliminate us and so I think having a caucus that created community allowed us a place to Frickley amplify one another and wanted to release speak with authority on behalf of our communities was powerful and now the posse caucus in the House and Senate has grown since the last election and It's it's exciting to see. I think it allows more folks from communities of color to say there is a place in space for me there. I'm going to step up and run for office. I really love what you said about us being in the system because a question I get from people all the time is what challenges you have on a daily basis says doing work in politics and I remind them I wake up every day and I play in a system. That never prepared never thought that I would be a participant. We're constantly constantly navigating things every single day with wasting to my next question is assault rape picture of you with Congresswoman Debt Hall in snakeheads at Beautiful Picture. We know all three of you. Very Earth Saint Twenty eighteen. How having the support of other native women impacted packed your time in office? Will I have to say you know when cherise Debra here in Minneapolis. We went we got to go to on a snobby academy which is is a K eight school for Indigenous Kids Minneapolis. It was powerful odd to be with these native kids but also with my two sisters talking about our our own experiences than just the path of that lasted to be in that room in that space together we have a a little tax group. Rupin cheer each other on and I was at the state of the Union was a guest of Senator Tina Smith. And when cherise and DAB came in I heard suddenly Peggy Peggy from down from the floor and here are my two native sisters who are waving to me from the floor of Congress. It matters tremendously Mandalay. And one of my dearest friends in the legislature is represented. Jimmy Becker Finn She's a way from Leech Lake and is is just having her friendship and understanding is critically important and so I think you know for other women and women of Color in particular. Were thinking about running for office. There are people who will be there for you and support you and you just need to find your crew. Who are going to give you? You know that that support that carrying allow you to be yourself to be vulnerable so that you can go out into the best possible in in serving your constituents but I think that that community is critical as we're navigating this every day and frankly Ashanti gets. It's really important that you're doing eunice work in that you talk about being a system.