October 30, 2010

Lovejoy faces "buckskin ceiling"

Navajo Nation's Female Would-Be President Confronts "Buckskin Ceiling"Lovejoy is one of the first women to be a serious contender for the presidency—though women ran in 1990 and 1998—and some are questioning her ability to lead. According to the AP, one traditional Navajo story describes a female leader who "created chaos," and some members of the Nation believe this means women shouldn't hold power. Apparently a few even blame Lovejoy for a recent tornado.

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."
An example of what some Navajos think:

Navajo Nation Could Elect First Female President

By Daniel KrakerGrowing up on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona, Eunice Manson learned to become a medicine woman. Speaking through a translator, she explains why a woman should never lead the Navajo people.

"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.
Comment:  For more on the subject of Natives and feminism, see Indians Inspired Feminism and Gloria Steinem and Wilma Mankiller.

1 comment:

Rob said...

In the election, Shelley defeated Lovejoy. Whew...possible end of the world due to a female president averted!


Navajos elect tribe's vice president to top post

Navajos have chosen tribal Vice President Ben Shelly as their next leader, despite both him and his running mate facing criminal charges in a probe of tribal slush funds.

Ben Shelly defeated New Mexico Sen. Lynda Lovejoy in Tuesday's election, becoming the first vice president elected to the tribal presidency and dashing Lovejoy's hopes of becoming the tribe's first female president. Shelly had 33,422 votes to Lovejoy's 29,980 votes with just one precinct outstanding.