Native American studies professor Lloyd Lee says these detractors are misinterpreting the story: "The interpretation is that women can't lead, that it creates confusion and mess. When in fact it's not meant that way at all." And her opponent Ben Shelly says gender shouldn't be a campaign issue: "Is she or he qualified to be a leader? This is not a question of gender, it's a question of leadership." Still, sexism remains an issue for women seeking tribal offices (as it does for women running for office in general). Says Cecilia Fire Thunder, the first female president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, "White women face a glass ceiling. Indian women face a buckskin ceiling."
Navajo Nation Could Elect First Female President
By Daniel Kraker
"At the time that she's becoming a leader, if there are any pregnant women out there, when they bear their children, they're going to bear monsters, with bad character, and these are the ones that are going to grow up and rise up and destroy our people," she says.