Eight women ran in the recent tribal primary election and two have advanced to the general election. Currently, no women serve on the Northern Arapaho Business Council and only four women have ever served.
Clarinda Calling Thunder is one of the two finalists. She said there's still a reluctance to vote women into leadership roles.
“To me, I think they always think of women taking the backseat,” she said. “I mean, they say, yeah, we’re the backbone, but we shouldn't be leading our tribe. Times have changed. You know, we're not still in the 19th century. We're becoming leaders.”
Virginia Sutter is one of the four women to have served on the Council in its entire history. She said other tribes have been more open to electing women council members.
“There are many tribes in the country, and I will say Oregon for instance, their council is made up entirely of women,” Sutter said. “If women can go in there and make a difference, I see no problem with it at all.”
The two finalists will need to make their case in time for the tribal general election on November 17.