First Openly Gay Indian Woman Elected to MN State Legislature

Minnesota House district 61B made history Tuesday when they elected the first American Indian woman to the state legislature.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 13, 2012

On Tuesday Minnesota made history by electing the first American Indian woman to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. Democrat Susan Allen won 55 percent of the vote in Minneapolis’ 61B district.

"It reminds me of a lot of the places I grew up. It’s 62 percent minority," Allen said about her district to Minnesota Public Radio. Half the children in her district live in poverty.

Allen’s parents came from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations in South Dakota but they moved around a lot when she was young. She lived in several small towns and reservations in five different states by the time she was 14.

Her family moved around as the father looked for work.

Allen says she brings a unique perspective. She was a single mother relying on public transportation and public assistance programs to get herself through law school. And, she’s a lesbian.

Allen told the Southwest Minneapolis Patch she’s ready for her first day on the job. "My early priorities will be to bring jobs and job training to our district, work on a fair tax system for Minnesota and fight the discriminatory constitutional marriage amendment," she said. 

Since 1848, only nine American Indian men have served as legislators in Minnesota. Six of them held office while Minnesota was still a territory. The Huffington Post reports she’s the first openly gay American Indian elected to any state legislature.

Listen to Allen’s interview with Minnesota Public Radio below.

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.