Denise Juneau, a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa Tribes of North Dakota, is the first American Indian woman to win a statewide election. After four years in office, she is now running for re-election as Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Written by Mark Trahant.

Interviews conducted and edited by Mark Trahant.

Native Americans make up less than one percent of the U.S. electorate. A tiny demographic slice. But even that small number has the potential to make a difference in a Western state like Montana. Native Americans make up about 8 percent of Montana, roughly 6.5 percent of all voters. A number that has been increasing since 2004. The Native American vote has become an important part of the electorate, helping to elect a governor, and six years ago, Senator Jon Tester. He won that election by only a fraction and he credits the Native American vote for his win.

It's not easy to convince people at the Winnebago Tribe Powwow to talk about politics and the upcoming election. It's not only talking over the steady, infectious rhythm of the drum groups performing in the dance circle. There's often a sense that Native people get left off the radar of the people campaigning for office. In fact, if there's something everyone agrees on, regardless of political philosophy, it's that candidates need to make a swing through the reservation more often.

Author: 
It's not easy to convince people at the Winnebago Tribe Powwow to talk about politics and the upcoming election. It's not only talking over the steady, infectious rhythm of the drum groups performing in the dance circle. There's often a sense that...
A grassroots Native organization that recruits and supports Indian candidates is closing its doors after failing to gain sponsors. INDN’s List began in 2005 as a way to get more Indian candidates elected throughout the country. President Kalyn Free...
How much influence did that existing democracy have on our Founding Fathers and on documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? More than you know.

Native journalist Mark Trahant gives a report on the different ways that the Native vote impacted the results of the 2012 election.

Six years ago Native voters helped elect Jon Tester to the U.S. Senate and four years ago they elected Denise Juneau to run the state's school system.

A chorus of Ponca tribe voices come together in this intergenerational plea for the role of a good education in preserving cultural heritage.

Will President Obama give a formal apology to Native people as nations like Canada and Australia have done recently?

Native American plaintiffs in a lengthy, class-action suit against the federal government say they're excited at the prospect of reaching a settlement with the new Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.

The massive economic stimulus bill includes nearly three billion dollars for Indian tribes; that's more than the entire current budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A good chunk of that will likely go to the Navajo Nation. As Arizona Public Radio's Daniel Kraker reports, tribal leaders there are desperate for funding for basic infrastructure projects.

Pages

Help Vision Maker Media By Using Amazon Smile
 
Subscribe to