With the backing of INDN’s List--the Indigenous Democratic Network-–23 American Indian candidates from 11 states and 16 tribes won state and local elections.
“This is not just an historic year for America, but for Indian country as we elected more tribal members to state and local office than ever before. In 2006, we elected 20 American Indians, and in 2008 we elected 23. Because of our efforts at INDN’s List, tribal members are engaged at all levels of government in an unprecedented manner. To shape history, you have to be willing to make it,” said Kalyn Free, Choctaw, the president and founder of INDN’s List.
Among the groundbreaking winners was Denise Juneau, Three Affiliated Tribes, who is the first American Indian woman elected to statewide office in Montana, and only the third tribal member ever elected statewide.
It was a hard-won race, Free said.
“It was a race we were especially focused on and it was very difficult. Denise faced a very hard campaign and a lot of anti-Indian rhetoric and anti-Indian scorn and a very negative campaign toward the end, so we’re super proud of her,” Free said.