Faith Spotted Eagle

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Faith Spotted Eagle
Tȟuŋkáŋ Inážiŋ Win
Born1948 (age 75–76)
Alma materUniversity of South Dakota
Occupation(s)PTSD counselor, educator
Known for
Political partyDemocratic

Faith Spotted Eagle (Dakota: Tunkan Inajin Win[1] or Tȟuŋkáŋ Inážiŋ Win pronounced [tˣũkã́ ináʒĩ win] "Standing Stone"; born 1948) is an American activist and politician. She is a member of the Yankton Sioux Nation who attempted to block development of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.[2]

In the 2016 presidential election, she became the first Native American to receive an electoral vote for President of the United States as well as one of the first two women to receive an electoral vote for President of the United States.[3] Spotted Eagle's single vote came from Robert Satiacum Jr., a faithless elector in Washington, who cast it for her instead of Hillary Clinton.


Spotted Eagle is from the village of White Swan, now beneath 140 feet (43 m) of water at the bottom of Lake Francis Case, a reservoir created by the Fort Randall Dam.[4] She still lives in the area at nearby Lake Andes, South Dakota.[5][6] She attended the American University in Washington, D.C., and Black Hills State College in Spearfish, South Dakota, and holds an MA in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of South Dakota. Her time as a student included an internship for then-senator George McGovern.[1]

Spotted Eagle is a native speaker of Lakota, and learned English in school.[7]



Spotted Eagle has been a private consultant in PTSD counseling for veterans, a school counselor and principal, and a Dakota language teacher at Sinte Gleska College.[6][1] She is a founding member of the Brave Heart Society, an organization for teaching girls about traditional culture,[8] chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee, and the manager of Brave Heart Lodge in Lake Andes[6] which seeks to preserve Dakota cultural beliefs for the future.[1] Spotted Eagle served as a delegate of the Treaty Committee NGO at the United Nations.[1]

Spotted Eagle criticized President Donald Trump following his use of the term "Pocahontas" to refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren. She referred to the incident as an "emotional assault" that "carries as much weight as a physical assault," and said, "He can phrase it and twist it and distort it any way he wants, the fact remains: That name does not belong in his mouth."[9][10]


2006 state house candidacy[edit]

Spotted Eagle ran for a seat in the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2006 for the 21st district, which comprises Brule, Buffalo, Charles Mix, Jones, and Lyman counties. She placed 3rd in the Democratic Party primary out of three candidates, receiving 735 votes overall. Spotted Eagle won the most votes of any candidate in majority-Native American Buffalo County.[11] She had been convinced to run for the seat, but did not actively campaign.[7]

2016 presidential election[edit]

Robert Satiacum Jr., a faithless elector in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, cast his vote for Spotted Eagle

Spotted Eagle received one electoral vote for President of the United States from Robert Satiacum Jr. of Washington, a faithless elector during the 2016 presidential election.[12] Satiacum explained that Clinton had failed Native Americans, especially regarding the pipeline issue.

Spotted Eagle said that she was surprised when she learned that she received this vote. She said she hoped the vote would increase awareness of the environmental dangers of the Keystone XL project, and that she was now considering running for state office.[13]

Spotted Eagle is the first Native American to receive an Electoral College vote for President (though not the first to receive an electoral vote overall, as Charles Curtis received a majority of electoral votes to become Vice President in 1928),[3][14] and she and Hillary Clinton are the first two women to receive an electoral vote for president.[15]

2018 state house candidacy[edit]

Spotted Eagle ran for one of two seats in District 21 of the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2018, aiming to succeed retiring Democrat Julie Bartling.[16] She lost the Democratic primary, coming in third for total votes behind Brian Jorgensen and Anna Kerner Andersson.[17] Brian Jorgensen withdrew before the general election however, placing Spotted Eagle back in the race. Ultimately, she did not garner enough votes to win the general election, coming behind Anna Kerner Anderson who in turn came behind the two Republicans who won both seats, Lee Qualm (incumbent) and Caleb Finck.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bio for Faith Spotted Eagle (PDF). South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
  2. ^ "The sacred land at the heart of Dakota pipeline fight". CNN. November 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Pearce, Matt (December 20, 2016). "How Faith Spotted Eagle became the first Native American to win an electoral vote for president". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  4. ^ The Fight to Tame a Swelling River With Dams That May Be Outmatched by Climate Change, by Tyler J. Kelley, New York Times, 21 March 2019
  5. ^ Lambrecht, Bill (2014). Big Muddy Blues: True Tales and Twisted Politics Along Lewis and Clark's Missouri River. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-312-32783-5.
  6. ^ a b c Prefiled Testimony of Faith Spotted Eagle – Docket No. HP14-001 (PDF). South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
  7. ^ a b Andersen, Mark (May 22, 2018). "Spotted Eagle hoping to defend South Dakota". Mitchell Daily Republic. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Flegg, Erin (January 31, 2013). "International Treaty to Protect the Sacred From Tar Sands Project signed by First Nations in S. Dakota". The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Mindock, Clark (November 27, 2017). "Trump's 'Pocahontas' slur 'carries as much weight as a physical assault', says Native American activist". The Independent. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Dale, Daniel (November 27, 2017). "Trump just called Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' at an event honouring Native American war heroes". Toronto Star. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  11. ^ South Dakota Secretary of State (2006). "Democratic Legislative Primary Election – June 6, 2006 Official Canvass". Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  12. ^ Brunner, Jim (December 19, 2016). "Four Washington state electors break ranks and don't vote for Clinton". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  13. ^ Smith, Kelley (December 23, 2016). "Activist hopes electoral vote will give pipeline protesters a louder voice". KSFY News. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  14. ^ Bump, Philip (December 20, 2016). "More people received electoral votes in 2016 than in any election since 1796". Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "Donald Trump is 27th on the all-time list of electoral votes received by an individual". Washington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Dockendorf, Randy (March 27, 2018). "Deadline Day: A Crowded Yankton Co. Race Looms". Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Region election results: Incumbents advance in District 19 house race". Mitchell Daily Republic. June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  18. ^ Dockendorf, Randy (November 6, 2018). "Incumbents Dominate Area SD Races". Yankton Press & Dakotan. Retrieved May 18, 2020.