In 1928, Charles Curtis – a Native American legislator and member of the Cau Nation – was elected Vice President Herbert Hoover.
Much of his childhood was spent living with his maternal grandparents on Cau Preserve in Council Grove, Kansas. Even Curtis He spoke Kansa, the Siwan language of the Great Plains, before he learned English.
While Curtis hoped to continue living on reserves with his grandmother, she encouraged the young teenager to return to Topeka to continue his education.
Returning to Topeka, Curtis became a lawyer and later turned his attention to politics. In 1892, Curtis was elected to the US Congress, serving in the House and Senate. As a Senator, he was the Republican whip, and was instrumental in preventing Woodrow Wilson from joining the United States into the League of Nations. In 1928, he lost his bid to run for president to Herbert Hoover, who had nominated him for vice president.
During his time as a member of Congress, Curtis was best known for his sponsorship of the “Indian Territory People Protection and Other Purposes Act”, also known as the Curtis Act of 1898, which did little to protect Indian lands.
Some Indian tribal governments and lands were dismantled as a result of this act, which nullified many treaty rights “by allocating federal land, abolishing tribal courts, and giving the Home Office control over mineral leases on Indian soil,” according to the US Senate. website.
Another milestone for people of color
As Curtis made history as the first person of color to become Vice President, Harris breaks her own barriers.
Throughout the United States, women have been fighting for equal rights and representation in American life for centuries. With Harris being elected, a woman now reached the nation’s second-highest political office.
“I might be the first woman in this office, but I won’t be the last,” she said in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Because every little girl who watches tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities, and for the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourself in a way that others may not do, just because they did not see it from Before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way. “
Correction: An earlier version of this story missed the year Charles Curtis ran for president. That was 1928.