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Affie Ellis Opens 'Women In Wyoming' Exhibit

Kamila Kudelska

Wyoming State Sen. Affie Ellis spoke about her life Friday, October 25 at a luncheon honoring the opening of the 'Women in Wyoming' exhibit at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

'Women in Wyoming' is a special exhibit featuring Wyoming photographer Lindsay Linton Buk's portraits of women. Buk traveled around Wyoming meeting women, photographing them and recording their life stories. One of the women featured in the exhibit is Affie Ellis, Wyoming's first Navajo state senator and the first Native American to serve in the role. 

She told a room full of attendees about the significance of her parents, childhood and experiences to whom she has become today.

People always say you're so lucky, you look good or you're so lucky you're in the Senate. And you just want to remind people that this has nothing to do with luck. This has everything to do with work. Just work." 

She said one reason she started considering running for the position was when her daughter asked her if girls were allowed in the Senate.

"As I thought about my daughter's innocent question and seeing statues of women like Ester Hobart Morris, you really start thinking about what this equality state stuff means," Ellis said.

Ellis said it's important to focus not just on what women do but what motivates their accomplishments. The interactive exhibit opens this weekend and runs through August.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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