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US Rep. Deb Haaland participates in Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's 35th annual Powwow

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico hugs veteran after the playing of the flag song July 27 at the Tribal Campground.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who represents New Mexico's first district, encouraged Native Americans from across North America  to participate in politics during the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's 35th annual Powwow.

Haaland spent two days in Mount Pleasant visiting the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. She attended the tribe's annual Freedom Walk July 26 and the Powwow July 27. 

During the powwow, Haaland served as a dignitary in the Grand Entry. She danced around the circle at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Campground with a group of veterans and warriors. As the daughter of two parents in the military, Haaland acknowledged how grateful she is for those who serve. 

"My father served in the United States Marine Corps, and my mother was in the Navy," she said. "Being from a military family, I know the sacrifice it takes to serve your country."

As one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, Haaland said it is important for Native Americans participate in elections. She encouraged everyone at the powwow to register to vote and to show up to the polls in the 2020 election.

"2020 is our year," she exclaimed. "We need to elect someone who cares about our environment and natural resources, someone who will make sure people can feed their families. We, as a people, need to make our voices heard."

The powwow included performances from dancers and drummers from across the Midwest and Canada. Performers from a variety of age groups competed for cash prizes for dancing, singing and drumming. See more photos from the powwow here.