Elizabeth Furse (born October 13, 1936) is a small business owner and faculty member of Portland State University. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 1999, representing Oregon's 1st congressional district. She is a Democrat, and was the first person born in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) to win election to the United States Congress.
Furse was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to British parents, and grew up in South Africa. Inspired by her mother, she became an anti-apartheid activist in 1951, joining the first Black Sash demonstration in Cape Town, South Africa.
She moved to England in 1956, before eventually moving to the United States, settling in Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles, she became involved in a women's self-help project in Watts, and with Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers movement, working to unionize grape farm workers. Moving to Seattle, Washington, in 1968, she became involved in American Indian/Native American rights causes including fishing and treaty rights. She became a United States citizen in 1972. Two years later, she graduated from The Evergreen State College.
In 1978, she finally settled in the Portland, Oregon, area, where she attended Northwestern School of Law. After dropping out of law school, she led the efforts of several Oregon-based American Indian/Native American tribes to win federal recognition, successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress to grant federal recognition to the Coquille, Klamath and Grand Ronde tribes. In 1986, she co-founded the Portland-based Oregon Peace Institute, establishing a mission to develop and disseminate conflict resolution curriculum in Oregon schools.
To read more about Elizabeth Furse, visit her page on Wikipedia.