Skip to main content

Pauly Denetclaw

Davina Smith is headed to the general election this November. She will face Republican candidate Phil Lyman, a controversial figure who was pardoned by Donald Trump for an illegal ATV protest ride. The area he drove through is closed off to vehicles because of the presence of Native American cliff dwellings.

They will be running to represent Utah’s 69th district.

Smith is from Monument Valley, Utah, where her umbilical cord was buried. She comes from a long line of Diné leadership. Her paternal grandmother was the esteemed and iconic Diné leader, Katherine Smith. During the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, thousands of Navajo people were forcibly relocated from their ancestral lands to either nearby communities or urban areas.

In 1979, when BIA agents came to fence off Katherine Smith’s property she defended her home and land with a .22 rifle.

(Related: Indigenous candidates head to US Senate runoff)

Scroll to Continue

Read More

So, it comes as no surprise that Smith has continued that legacy by working to protect Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Protection of the land and water is something that is very important to her platform.

She lives in Blanding with her family while her name is on a waitlist for housing. An issue that personally affects her and she is passionate about addressing it at the state level.

Other aspects of her platform are building up the local economy in district 69, which is a rural area. This district holds Arches, Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef national parks. So, a lot of the district is federal land. She would like to see the area benefit more from tourism. Education, voting rights, affordable healthcare, and domestic violence awareness are other aspects of her platform.

Utah held its primary election on Tuesday.

New ICT logo

ICT is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support ICT for as little as $10. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter