“It became apparent that this is a huge distraction, this election,” Satiacum said of his experience at the convention, which was heavily protested by fellow Sanders supporters. “It doesn’t matter who ascends to the throne. It’s the Olympics — a football game. It’s a distraction for the elite.… How did we get Bozo the Clown and Mickey Mouse to choose from for president?”
At Monday’s electoral college meeting in Olympia, Satiacum prepared to carry out his protest vote, which could bring a $1,000 fine under Washington law. “I had that pen, my quill in hand; I was ready to make a ‘B’ for Bernard Sanders,” Satiacum said. He also thought about voting “water” for president, in tribute to the Dakota Access pipeline protesters near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
But as a fellow Native American elector, Dan Carpita of the Lemhi-Shoshone Tribes, began playing a ceremonial song on a flute, Satiacum “said a quick prayer to water” — and then remembered Spotted Eagle, whom he had hosted on his radio show several times over the last decade, and whom he had finally met in person at the recent Dakota Access protests.
“My pen started writing F instead of B — well, what’s this — A, I, T, H, and I finished it out, ‘Spotted Eagle,’” Satiacum said. He then cast his vice presidential vote for Native American environmentalist Winona LaDuke. (LaDuke is not the first Native American to receive an electoral college vote for that office: Herbert Hoover’s vice president, Charles Curtis, was part Native American.)
Satiacum lovingly called Spotted Eagle his “grandma” and hailed her as a person “who can carry her own, who can do that, who has spirit, traditions, who has values, is centered.” His voice grew louder as he continued: “That’s a leader. That’s what they look like. They show up and show out. They have vision and foresight, and they have these qualities you need to move ahead and progress, to live, to survive!”
After the news broke Monday, Spotted Eagle said she was “in shock for a couple of hours.” Some journalists didn’t believe it either at first. KOMO-TV in Seattle tweeted Spotted Eagle’s name in quotation marks, as if it thought the name was fake. “Apologies to Faith Spotted Eagle,” the station tweeted later. “Bad error on our part.” Matthew Yglesias, co-founder of Vox, drew scorn when he tweeted, “As Federalist 37 argues, once you’ve already lost the election you may as well vote for someone with a funny/memorable name.”