LAME DEER, Mont. -- The Northern Cheyenne Nation inaugurated their new slate of tribal council members Tuesday, and for the first time in history, all the winning candidates are women.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe will have a woman as President, a woman as Vice President, and women leading all five Cheyenne Tribal Districts.
"Women are the backbone of our families," said Incoming Tribal President Donna Fisher, "and we are the shakers and movers. We are the ones who make a difference in the daily lives of our own families."
Incoming members of the Tribal Council addressed the Northern Cheyenne people in a combination of English and their native tongue, and incoming President Fisher was proud to be one of five generations of Fishers present at the Northern Cheyenne Inauguration. Her daughter, Melissa Rae Fisher won the Ashland Tribal Council seat and was sworn in on the same stage as her mom.
This inauguration will go down in history for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, but the presence of coronavirus was not lost. This year, the Northern Cheyenne Nation lost 130 people in their communities. Some were victims of coronavirus. Fisher says her own home was stricken with COVID-19.
"I just prayed and prayed. My grandchildren were sick, my daughter was sick," she said.
Debra Charette, winner of the Tribal Council seat for Muddy was absent because of a family member testing positive, and former President Rynalea Whiteman Pena lost her brother to COVID-19.
The new tribal council says their goals are protecting the community against the virus, recruiting more law enforcement, expanding rehabilitation programs, and embracing technology.
"My main focus is the people," Fisher said.