Ruth Buffalo made history after she became the first Native American Democratic woman to be sworn into North Dakota’s state legislature.
In a move that delighted people, Buffalo wore a traditional Native American dress to her swearing in ceremony, and held a large, ornate fan made of eagle feathers that her clan brothers had given her prior to the ceremony.
Buffalo, who is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation told HuffPost:
Eagle feathers in our culture are very significant. Oftentimes they’re gifted to people when they’ve accomplished a great achievement.
She added that she decided to wear the traditional clothing to honour her ancestors, as they are a part of her identity.
Buffalo asked for permission to wear her clothes, which she found ‘weird.’
Photos of her swearing in ceremony made their way online and went viral as lots of people congratulated her, and praised the decision to honour her culture.
Equipped with 3 master’s degrees: one in management, business administration, & public health. Ruth Buffalo beat th… https://t.co/XQ0ycixcKu
— Sicangu in the City (@Sicangu in the City)
Congratulations sister @rabuffalo! Rock them moccs and show why we're still still standing proud! Our voices will b… https://t.co/uTmmwO5F2h
LaurieBeth Hager, who was at the ceremony, shared a photo of Buffalo and other female lawmakers who attended, and reaction to the post was overwhelmingly positive.
Melanie Motah wrote: ‘Proud and a historic moment. Lu lu lu lu lu.’
Jamie White Mountain added:
Ruth u have made history! beyond words how proud u have made natives everywhere much love and respect!
Lora Kay Oxendine-Taylor added: ‘hope is not lost. Let no one dismiss your journey, all have been given a responsibility. You are not alone... you will do well... no matter the task. You have been educated with and Indigenous heart, and family; let them learn from you. The out come is going to be what it is going to be. You do not stand alone...’
Over 1,000 people shared the post and it received almost 700 likes.
Buffalo unseated the Republican state Rep. Randy Boehning, who sponsored the voter ID law that many criticised for disenfranchising Native voters in that state.
Her contemporaries are just as impressed with her. ‘Ruth ran not necessarily as s Native American woman, but as a woman in Fargo who wanted to talk about issues that were affecting her community, Scott McNeil, executive director of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League told The New York Times.