Meet the First Native American to Win an Electoral Vote

Environmental activist Faith Spotted Eagle got one in Washington state
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2016 12:23 PM CST
Meet the First Native American to Win an Electoral Vote
Faith Spotted Eagle speaks in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in Grand Island, Neb., in 2013.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

When Washington state's 12 electors cast their presidential votes this week, four of them defied their state's popular vote and ditched Hillary Clinton. Three of those dissenting votes went to Colin Powell and the fourth went to Faith Spotted Eagle. If that name has you wondering who on earth Faith Spotted Eagle is, well, that was exactly the intent of the man who cast that vote, Robert Satiacum. In what he says was a last-second decision, the member of Washington's Puyallup Tribe opted to vote for Spotted Eagle of South Dakota's Yankton Sioux Reservation to send a message about the environment. "Earth is on fire, and we are in need of first responders, and not more politicians," Satiacum tells the Los Angeles Times. As a result, Spotted Eagle is believed to be the first Native American to win an electoral vote for the land's highest office.

Spotted Eagle has made a name for herself as an environmental activist, most visibly in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and more recently the Dakota Access pipeline, notes the Seattle Times. The protest of the latter is where she and Satiacum met. "I thought it was fake news," says 68-year-old Spotted Eagle. "I told my daughter, "Is this real?' She said, 'I think it is.'" But she tells ABC News she understands the vote is about the movement she belongs to, not herself. She adds that she expects things to get worse for environmentalists under the Trump administration. "The people coming in are pro-oil, so I think for the next four years we're going to be in a battle, and I think all of America is going to be in a battle." (Read more electoral college stories.)

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