Indian Boot Camp Launches Candidates
After flexing their muscles and wallets in the last two national elections, Indian tribes across the country say they're ready to do more, and they've picked Shakopee for their launching pad.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux hosted the tribes' first national Indian candidate boot camp that began October 13th. It was organized by INDN List, a potentially powerful new player on the national political scene dedicated to recruiting and training Indian political candidates.
The four-day camp was expected to draw nearly 200 potential candidates, campaign staff members and donors for an intensive grounding in the finer points of running and winning campaigns.
The Indigenous Democratic Network List (INDN List for short) is a political 527 group, named after the section of federal law that authorizes such groups. They raised and spent significant amounts of money in the 2004 election.
Kalyn Free, the president and founder of INDN List, said it has raised about $200,000 since its inception in February, but expects to raise much more. The money has come not just from the wealth of tribal casino gambling, she said, but from individual donors and organized labor.
Styled after EMILY's List, the first major group to endorse and support women candidates, INDN List wants to cultivate big givers, making those who give $1,000 or more to INDN List members of its "Warriors Circle."
The network will endorse only candidates enrolled in federally recognized tribes, Free said.
"We're on the cusp of something really big here," she added. "This is an opportunity to change the face of color and power in America. We've proved that we can turn out Indians to elect non-Indians. Now we need to turn them out to elect Indians."
Free noted that in Minnesota, heavy turnout on the Leech Lake Reservation helped elect state Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji, and Indian turnout was credited with affecting several other House races in Minnesota. Nationally, tribes generated Indian turnout through Native Vote 2004. Free, a Choctaw from Tulsa, Okla., vied for a congressional seat in 2004 but lost.
Afterward, she said, she realized that Indian candidates needed the same type of grass-roots organization to recruit, train and fund candidates that EMILY's List had provided for women.The goal is to elect Indian candidates at every level of government.
Headlining the Shakopee boot camp was Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and comedian and radio host Al Franken, who is considering a run in Minnesota against U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008. Rep. Jim Oberstar was on hand for the Thursday opening. Why Minnesota?
"I chose Minnesota because tribal leaders in Minnesota are visionaries," Free said. "They have been so progressive in supporting tribal sovereignty across the country."
Free worked in the state during Native Vote 2004 for the Kerry-Edwards campaign."Your tribes here in Minnesota get it," she said. "You've already proven that you can turn out votes. Now we need to get you some candidates."
Wellstone Action was also a cosponsor of the event, and director Jeff Blodgett, former campaign manager for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, led sessions on building get-out-the vote operations.
This column was edited for content from the October 12th edition of the Star Tribune bylined Patricia Lopez. Phone, 651-222-1288 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Gila River Students To Cast Ballots In November Election
ubmitted by Alyssa Macy
Sacaton, Arizona – Last month educators in Gila River Indian Community schools began preparing students for the upcoming November 8th tribal general election through a program called “Gila River Kids Voting”.
Students will be able to accompany their parents or an adult to the polls and cast a mock ballot for all elective offices.
The purpose of the program is to make Gila River youth become more aware of their voting rights and responsibilities in the Community and to encourage their active participation in future tribal elections.
Another goal is to encourage families to participate so that parents and children discuss candidates and issues at home and vote together on election day.
Members of the Akimel O’dham/PeePosh Youth Council will recruit volunteers to work and staff the polls on Election Day. Youth Council members are also involved in getting voting materials to schools and providing resources for classroom teachers.
Gila River students will be the first in the nation to have Kids Voting experience in a tribal election. Gila River teachers developed a special curriculum based on the Gila River constitution that will be used with twenty-one schools and programs involved in the Kids Voting project.
Shonto Chapter Holds Special Election on Nov. 8th
Submitted by Alyssa Macy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeanette Brown
Shonto Chapter will hold a Special Referendum Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at the Shonto Chapter House. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
There will be only one Referendum Question on the ballot: “Shall the Council of Nat’aa/Atsilasdai be adopted as the Shonto Chapter form of Governance?” All voters are urged to come to the polls to express their decision on this issue.
Until Friday, November 4, Shonto voters may cast absentee ballots by walking in to any Navajo Nation Election Office.
Office locations, with their toll-free numbers, are:
Tuba City, 888-508-4970
Window Rock, 800-775-8683
Complete Special Election, Referendum, and voting information is available on the Chapter’s web site at www.shonto.org; at the Chapter House in Shonto Canyon; or by phone at 928-672-2910.
A community information session will be held on Sunday, November 6, at 1:00 p.m. in the Shonto Chapter House.
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