President Donald Trump routinely calls a U.S. senator “Pocahontas.” One time, he did it in front of Navajo code talkers who helped America during World War II.
To decorate the Oval Office, he chose a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the president notorious for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which set in motion the series of forced migrations that became known as the Trail of Tears.
And his Administration sought to shrink Bears Ears National Monument — an area full of sacred tribal sites — by more than 1.1 million acres.
Actions like these are helping spur a surge in Native American women seeking political office. During recent primaries, three women of Native American descent were seeking gubernatorial seats, four in congressional elections and at least 31 more in state elections.
The candidates aren’t just running against Trump, however. All four who spoke with TIME talked about issues ranging from increasing access to affordable healthcare, making quality childhood education more available and protecting the environment.
But experts say it’s hard to miss the effect that Trump has had.
“Trump is singularly distinctive in the degree of polarization and antipathy he has raised in ways that negatively affect lots of communities at the margins — including native peoples,” said Joseph Gone, the chair of Native American Studies at University of Michigan.
Read the full article at TIME.