LAKE ANDES, S.D. - One South Dakota pipeline activist got a huge surprise Monday when a Democratic elector in Washington state voted for her for president instead of Hillary Clinton.
She is the first Native American to receive an electoral vote for president.
Faith Spotted Eagle says December is a difficult month for many native people because of historical trauma left from Wounded Knee.
She says she thought history was going to repeat itself when the army corps of engineers ordered Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to leave their camp on federal land earlier this month, but then easements need to finish the pipeline were denied.
She says she hopes this electoral vote is momentum in the right direction.
“My phone was just going off the hook .I just quit answering them because it's kind of overwhelming,” Faith Spotted Eagle admitted.
She isn't used to having this many missed calls from reporters.
“When I first saw the first post I thought it was the fake news,” she said.
She's an activist and has been working for several months at the Standing Rock camp.
“My role was as an elder,” she said.
She actually met the elector who voted for her at the camp.
“He said that it impacted him on what I said, and what I was talking about was I ask people to understand why women would wear a skirt, all those beautiful skirts that you see at the campground. We’re symbolizing that women take care of the home and that women are keepers of the water,” she explained.
Spotted Eagle never thought she would have her name thrown in the hat for president like this. She appreciates what the elector was trying to do.
“I really put my hands up to Robert Satiacum that nominated me because he used that platform to point out that we indeed have a voice, and this year it has been pretty loud,” she stated.
She hopes it raises awareness to the millions of people who use water from the Missouri River.
“You don't hear a lot of those people worrying and I would think, I was thinking where are those 16 million people they need to say something. So I’m hoping that this will encourage them to stand up and say yes, they have a right to be concerned,” she explained.
KSFY News asked Spotted Eagle if getting an electoral vote for president is making her think about getting politically active.
She says it has.
She is thinking about running for some kind of state office, but hasn't made any kind of decision yet.
The faithless elector who voted for spotted eagle does face a $1,000.00 fine under Washington’s "faithless elector" act.