In 1928, Charles Curtis — a Native American lawmaker and member of the Kaw Nation — was elected as President Herbert Hoover’s vice president.

Curtis grew up in North Topeka, Kansas, the place he was born to a White father and a one-quarter Kaw Indian mom. He was the great-great grandson of White Plume, a Kaw chief recognized for providing to assist the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804, in accordance to the US Senate.

He spent a lot of his childhood dwelling together with his maternal grandparents on the Kaw reservation in Council Grove, Kansas. Curtis even spoke Kansa, the Siouan language of the Nice Plains, earlier than he discovered English.

His means to communicate Kansa allowed him to slot in the tribe comfortably, in accordance to the US Senate web site. He additionally discovered to experience ponies and finally grew to become a profitable jockey.

Whereas Curtis hoped to proceed dwelling on reservations together with his grandmother, she inspired the younger teen to return to Topeka to additional his training.

“I took her splendid recommendation and the subsequent morning as the wagons pulled out for the south, certain for Indian Territory, I mounted my pony and with my belongings in a flour sack, returned to Topeka and faculty,” Curtis mentioned. “No man or boy ever acquired higher recommendation, it was the turning level in my life.”

Again in Topeka, Curtis grew to become an lawyer and later turned his consideration to politics. In 1892, Curtis was elected to US Congress, the place he served in the Home and Senate. As a senator, he was Republican whip, instrumental in serving to to stop Woodrow Wilson from having the US be part of the League of Nations. In 1928, he misplaced his bid for the presidential nomination to Herbert Hoover, who tapped him as his working mate.

Throughout his time as a congressman, Curtis grew to become recognized for sponsoring “An Act for the Safety of the Folks of the Indian Territory and for Different Functions,” additionally recognized as the Curtis Act of 1898, which did little to shield Indian land.

Whereas the regulation allowed members of tribes to vote and established public faculties on tribal lands, it additionally helped lead to the disintegration of Indian nations, in accordance to the Oklahoma Historic Society.

Some Indian tribal governments and lands have been damaged up as a consequence of the act, which overturned a number of treaty rights “by allocating federal lands, abolishing tribal courts, and giving the Inside Division management over mineral leases on Indian lands,” in accordance to the US Senate web site.

One other milestone for folks of color

Whereas Curtis made historical past as the first person of color to develop into vice president, Harris is breaking boundaries of her personal.

Girls throughout the US have been combating for equal rights and illustration in American life for hundreds of years. With the election of Harris, a girl has now reached the second highest political workplace in the nation.

On Saturday evening, throughout her first speech as vice president-elect, Harris famous the historic second.

“Whereas I could also be the first lady on this workplace, I cannot be the final,” she mentioned in Wilmington, Delaware.

“As a result of each little woman watching tonight sees that this can be a nation of prospects, and to the youngsters of our nation, regardless of your gender, our nation has despatched you a transparent message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a means that others might not, just because they’ve by no means seen it earlier than. However know that we’ll applaud you each step of the means,” she mentioned.

Correction: A earlier model of this story misstated the yr Charles Curtis ran for president. It was 1928.

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