Standing Rock Elects 1St Woman Leader In More Than 50 Years

FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has elected a woman to be its next leader, according to results released Tuesday.

Janet Alkire would be the first woman to head the tribal council in more than half a century. Gates Kelley was elected Standing Rock chairwoman in 1946 and was the first woman to preside over a tribe in the United States, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

Alkire received 829 votes to defeat current tribal Vice Chairman Ira Taken Alive, who came in with 762 votes. Taken Alive said he is contesting the results. Taken Alive edged Alkire in the July primary that advanced the top two vote-getters.

A 15-year Air Force veteran, Alkire has served as Standing Rock's executive director twice.

Alkire's platform included prioritizing youth and elderly wellness initiatives, homelessness, economic development and government transparency. She favors mental health, addiction treatment and rehabilitation for all members and is an advocate for child welfare.

The Standing Rock Reservation straddles the North Dakota and South Dakota border and is home to about 8,000 people