Riverton Representative Andi Clifford held a town hall meeting at the Lander Public Library on Saturday. She spoke to a crowd of around 30 people, many of them Lander residents, about the challenges of being a Northern Arapaho woman in the Wyoming State Legislature.
"For too long, a lot of legislation and policies were made about us. We weren't at the table. Our voices weren't heard," Clifford said. "That's why it's so important to get my people out on the reservation, from both tribes, engaged in politics."
Clifford's district, which includes the Wind River Reservation, is more than 60 percent Native American. She said there are many barriers, from socioeconomic challenges to historical trauma,that prevent some of her constituents from participating in state elections as voters and candidates.
"We have a lot of wounds that my people need to heal from. A lot of them are just surviving day-to-day. And voting and being worried about laws - it's not even in their thoughts," Clifford said.
During the legislature's interim period, Clifford is pushing for tribal ID cards to be accepted as stand-alone documents for Wyoming voter registration. She said that her other priorities include studying the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People in Wyoming and creating legislation to allow Native students to wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies.