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Politics
Jodi Rave: Election Day for Indian Country


Two stories from Jodi Rave of the Missoulian ...

"While U.S. voters cast their ballots in federal, state and county elections, tribal citizens across the country also elected new leaders

Three of the most-watched tribal races around the country were in Arizona, North Dakota and South Dakota.

President Joe Shirley Jr. of the Navajo Nation won his re-election against Lynda Lovejoy, the first woman to ever make it into the Navajo's general election. Shirley - who leads the country's largest land-based tribe - won with 34,813 votes, compared to Lovejoy's 30,214 votes.

Tex Hall, former tribal chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota, lost his re-election bid to MHA Councilman Marcus Wells Jr. Hall is the former two-term president of the National Congress of American Indians.

And in South Dakota, John Yellow Bird-Steele coasted past former Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecila Fire Thunder, the first woman elected by the Oglala. Yellow Bird-Steele received 2,341 votes, compared to Fire Thunder's 1,398 votes."

***

"Carol Juneau woke up Tuesday at 4 a.m., made a strong pot of coffee and set out to wage a final campaign that could make her Montana�s first Native woman elected to the state Senate. �We�ve been on the street corners rallying and waving signs,� Juneau said Tuesday evening from her home in Browning. �Everyone seems in a good, exciting mood. We�re hoping for a good turnout of Indians on all the reservations.�

Juneau lives in Glacier County n which includes the Blackfeet Reservation n where a record number of Natives ran for five of seven elected positions in the county. A similar flurry of Natives running for county seats was taking place in Big Horn County n which includes the Crow Reservation n on the opposite end of the state, where Native candidates sought to fill five of eight county positions.

An active roster of Native candidates reflects a banner year for Natives seeking to be elected to state and county offices. �We have more Indian candidates running for office than ever before,� said Kayln Free, president and founder of INDN�s List. �I�m positive we�ve never had this many candidates nation wide.�

INDN�s List, a national organization that supports Natives politicos across the country, has endorsed 22 candidates in 10 states, including seven contenders in Oklahoma where the organization is based.

Free was anxiously awaiting Tuesday�s election results. If 20 Natives get elected, �that�s a lot of Indians across the country,� Free said. �It shows we can run sophisticated campaigns. We can be competitive. We can win. It�s going to be a real eye-opener for Indians and non-Indians.�"

Get the Story:
Tribal citizens across U.S. elect new leaders (The Missoulian 11/9)
Native candidates anxiously await election results around Montana - (The Missoulian 11/9)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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