Monacans Elect First Female Chief

Chief Bryant

Reporter: Jeremy Mills

Monroe, VA - An Amherst County woman has secured her spot in the history of the Monacan Indian tribe. Over the weekend, she was elected the Monacan's first ever female chief.

Sharon Bryant grew up the granddaughter of a Monacan chief, always hoping to follow in his footsteps.

"I dreamed it when I was a child, before there was even an opportunity to be chief," said Sharon 'Bear Woman' Bryant.

It didn't matter that women were not considered for the tribe's top position. Bryant always knew she'd make it happen.

"I grew up in the '70s when women were told that we could be and do anything that we dreamed and I believed that," said Bryant.

Now that her life-long dream has come true, Bryant is ready to unite the tribe, that now has members all over the world.

"One of the first things I am going to do this week, is get us some high-speed internet here so that people can skype into our meetings and then they'll feel involved," said Bryant.

She says she hopes to lead the Monacans to financial independence and build stronger ties to the local communities. But her number one priority, is something the tribe has coveted for years.

"I will always, to the end of my days, fight for federal recognition because it is our birthright," said Bryant.

Chief Bryant admits she has several new ideas to help in the push for federal recognition, but she's not ready to share them just yet.

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