Indian, American Indian, Native American, Native, Indigenous, Aboriginal or First Nations, the designation given by the United States government and popular culture for the Indigenous peoples of the Americas evolved since first contact over 500 years ago.
During that time, the United States was born, grew and evolved as well.
Now, 243 years after declaring themselves an independent nation—and after 115 Congresses gathered in the past 230 years—the United States sent the first two Native women to Congress. In a midterm election that saw more than one historic first for diversity and representation for all United States citizens, Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico won their place in the 116th Congress.
Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk sovereign nation. The Pueblo nation at Laguna Pueblo counts Haaland among their own.
On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the two women joined other new members of Congress and returning incumbents to be sworn in to the House of Representatives. Understanding the significance of the moment, the two women celebrated with a congratulatory hug.
And Davids loaned Haaland her scarf to dry her eyes.
Watch the moment here.
Haaland wore traditional Pueblo attire for the swearing in ceremony. Her family, including her mother, attended while others cheered her on from her office.
Representatives of many Native nations gathered to celebrate Davids' and Haaland's achievement.
Thursday evening, tribal citizens gathered at a reception in honor of Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids.
Others shared great moments captured from the floor of the House during the swearing in and voting for Representative Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Pelosi remains as the only woman to ever serve in that capacity.
Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California shared several photos to her Twitter account, captioning them:
"First day of a new era. 💪🏾😍"
Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota shared a list of some of the firsts being celebrated, including her own election as the first Somali-American and one of the first two Muslim women elected.
Omar had a cheering section watching as well.
The other Muslim woman elected, Democrat Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, brought her children who celebrated their mother's historic moment. Tlaib wore a traditional Palestinian thobe for her swearing in.
People celebrated other firsts on social media as well, like Ayanna Pressley making history for the state of Massachusetts.
The office of Democrat Veronica Escobar—the first Latinx woman elected from Texas—celebrated with mariachi, queso, guacamole and salsa.
Thursday's swearing in ceremony demonstrated the diversity of the people of the United States.
Tókhi wániphika ní to Representatives Davids and Haaland and all the members of the 116th Congress.