Category Archives: Native Politics

In 1929 The First U.S. Vice President was Native!

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“Charles Curtis, who served as Vice President from 1929 to 1933, grew up in part on Kanza land and spoke proudly of his Native American ancestry.”C. Hauser, The New York Times (11/10/20)

Vice President Charles Curtis meeting with chiefs of the Rosebud Reservation, who promised their support during a presidential election.Credit: Pacific & Atlantic Photos

Excerpt: Before Harris, This Vice President Broke a Racial Barrier, By Christine Hauser, The New York Times

Kamala Harris broke gender and racial barriers this year as the first woman [ of mixed race] to be elected vice president.

But historians and Native Americans are also revisiting the legacy of Charles Curtis, whose Kaw Nation ancestry gives him a claim as the first ‘person of color’ to serve as vice president, though the term’s current usage emerged decades later. Mr. Curtis, who served under President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933, often referred to the novelty of his background while in public office, speaking of his rise ‘from Kaw tepee to Capitol’ as his Senate biography notes…His embrace of his heritage, however, also came with a legacy that some historians and advocates say undermined Native land rights…Mr. Hoover chose him as a running mate in 1928, possibly because of his popularity in the pastoral Midwest…He learned the language and excelled at horsemanship, according to the Senate. And he pursued his early education in Topeka, shuttling back and forth between the city and the reservation, said Crystal Douglas, who runs the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Oklahoma…Many Native leaders thought a man who grew up with a tribe would look out for their interests.

But parts of his legacy, historians say, are overshadowed by his role as the original author of the Curtis Act of 1898,which orchestrated allotment of Native lands and curtailed tribal leadership…Ms. Douglas, the Kanza Museum director, said that Mr. Curtis “did some wonderful things” for his people, and introduced bills backing women’s voting rights and child labor laws..She said that Mr. Curtis’s personal papers show he was “disappointed” with how the Curtis Act ultimately harmed tribal identity…Then he faded into relative obscurity, until this year, as Ms. Harris’s selection on a major party ticket renewed interest in his stature as the highest-ranking person of Native descent in the federal government.”  Find out more about Charles Curtis at wikipedia

 

Black Hills Woman Painting By Maxine Noel- Canadian First Nations artist

FOR ALL THINGS WE GIVE ‘THANKS’ ~TALKING FEATHER ~