Who is Faith Spotted Eagle? Indigenous activist trends after receiving 1 electoral vote

Who is Faith Spotted Eagle? Indigenous activist trends after receiving 1 electoral vote
Source: AP
Source: AP

On Monday, 12 electoral college members in Washington casted their votes for president. The state's votes were expected to go toward Hillary Clinton. However, four voters cast their ballots in protest.

According to KOMO News, eight of them voted for Clinton, three voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and 1 voted for Native American elder Faith Spotted Eagle.

Many on social media reacted to the name Faith Spotted Eagle with confusion. Matthew Yglesias of Vox referred to Spotted Eagle as a funny/memorable name. KOMO News mentioned the elder's name in quotations, leaving the impression that they didn't consider it as a real name or a considerable choice. The news site has since apologized for their original tweet. 

Spotted Eagle is an indigenous activist with a lot of achievements and influence. The Native American elder has become a prominent name in the indigenous movement to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. 

Spotted Eagle was also a part of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council and testified before the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission on abuses the indigenous community and #NoDAPL activists experienced while protesting the pipeline. Spotted Eagle also led the efforts to protest the Keystone Pipeline XL in 2015.

Her influence and work dates back to the '90s. In 1994, Spotted Eagle created the Braveheart Society. The Braveheart Society, located within Ihanktonwan homelands, is a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for environmental justice within indigenous communities, healing sexual violence survivors and using traditional Native American ceremonies to heal trauma for members of the community. 

"The only way to get out of this assault on Mother Earth is through prayer, healing and unification among races and various populations, public outcry and the assertion of both our treaty rights and our reserved rights, even in unceded territories," Spotted Eagle said in an interview with Indian Country Media Network in 2015. "We are occupied peoples but maintain our tie to the land and that makes us sovereign with the earth and all living things."

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Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

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