Mark Trahant: Democrats pass on Prez on the Rez
"I will be moderating a forum for Democratic Party candidates called "Prez On The Rez" on the Morongo Reservation in California. The idea is to engage candidates and tribal leaders in a conversation about issues important to Indian Country. There is a lot to talk about, ranging from sovereignty to funding for health care.

Kalyn Free is organizing the event. It grew out of her effort to elect more Native Americans to public offices with fundraising and other logistical support through an organization called "INDN list."

"Indian Country has been ignored in some ways and curried in other ways," said Free, who is a Choctaw tribal member from Oklahoma. The candidates ask for votes or for money from the wealthy tribes, but haven't been engaged in the same way as they are with other constituent groups.

But unlike the YouTube debate or numerous other joint events on the campaign schedule, only a few of the candidates are participating in Prez On The Rez: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

The top-tier candidates passed. Some raised objections to the location or being present at a tribal resort and casino. Organizers offered to move the event -- basically presenting an accommodation to any barrier. No dice.

About 150 tribal leaders -- including many from Washington -- will be at the event anyway, even if they remain disappointed that the candidates and their issues won't be on the nation's agenda for those few minutes of exposure."

Get the Story:
Demographic shift about race and age (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/12)

More Mark Trahant:
Mark Trahant: Bush tax cuts come with a price (8/6)
Mark Trahant: Real estate crisis really about credit (7/30)
Mark Trahant: Science still clear on global warming (07/02)
Mark Trahant: Sacred sites must be saved (6/25)
Mark Trahant: Society is being numbed by dumb (6/18)
Mark Trahant: Creating a world with less garbage (6/11)
Mark Trahant: A boost of the unambiguous (6/4)
Mark Trahant: Economics of immigration reform (5/28)
Mark Trahant: The changing face of America (5/21)
Mark Trahant: Agree to disagree about warming (5/7)
Mark Trahant: Optimism for the newspaper business (4/30)
Mark Trahant: Tribal colleges effective and essential (4/23)
Mark Trahant: The global warming debate (4/16)
Mark Trahant: America's cycles of boom and bust (4/9)
Mark Trahant: Spring cleaning for the government (3/26)
Mark Trahant: The state of the changing news media (3/19)
Mark Trahant: Mismanagement of the Indian trust (3/12)
Mark Trahant: More gloomy prospects for economy (3/5)
Mark Trahant: An important vote for Seattle (2/26)
Mark Trahant: America headed toward credit meltdown (2/19)
Mark Trahant: Doom and gloom on global warming (2/12)
Mark Trahant: Americans unsettled over economy (2/5)
Mark Trahant: Too hard to ignore global warming (1/22)
Mark Trahant: Women finally take their place (1/15)
Mark Trahant: Raise taxes to pay for war in Iraq (1/8)
Mark Trahant: President Gerald Ford and Indian health (1/2)