NATIVE: Grandmother on Todd's side calls the governor a 'special gal.'
The Palin children are Native, too--one-sixteenth, eligible for Indian health benefits under federal law, as lineal descendants of Native enrollees under the 1970 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
During the 2006 governor's race, Palin introduced Andree on stage at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention and described her own family's mixed roots as an example of how whites and Natives can surmount controversies that divide them.
"I look at Alaska as a family, and I want my own family to be used as an example of how it can work," Palin told the state's biggest Native organization that year.
When it came time to debate, however, Palin was often at odds with her Native listeners. On sensitive subsistence hunting and fishing issues, her positions resembled those of urban sportsmen's groups who backed her.
In the election, she finished far behind Democrat Tony Knowles in rural, Native-dominated districts. Urban and small-town votes carried her to victory. As governor, she has come under criticism for not reaching out to Natives, though her efforts to assist rural Alaska economically have been praised.