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Leveraging the Political Power of Indian Country

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Over a hundred organizers, strategists, funders, and nonprofit leaders, including Native Public Media, attended the inaugural Native Power Building Summit in Albuquerque, NM.

The Summit provided the first national conversation on strengthening Native political power by setting a goal of electing 700 Native Americans to Congress or state legislatures across the U.S.

Georgene Louise, Acome, New Mexico House of Representatives; Stephine Poston, Sandia, Poston and Associates Moderator; Anathea Chino, Acoma, Advance Native Political Leadership

Summit attendees heard not only about the challenges of running for office from Native elected leaders, but discussed potential solutions to the steep challenges of campaign fundraising, establishing political action committees for Native candidates who may have to represent a diverse electorate, and outreach to the Native voters who have a recognized power to swing states in close elections.

“The Native right to vote will need a support system that includes media. Reaching and educating Native voters on a massive scale from California to New York state, should include sustained voter education over the Native broadcast network as one component of a national media campaign,” states Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media who attended the Summit.

To launch the conversation on a media campaign that includes the 57 Native owned radio and 4 television stations dotting Indian Country, Taylor solicited the ideas of her colleagues and drafted an outline describing ways the coalition can reach over half a million Native Americans over terrestrial radio stations and thousands more over stations that stream their signal.

According to Taylor, the ideas include the production of public service announcements, interview segments on electoral topics, and the hosting of a live “election watch night.”

“Building an electoral eco-system for Indian Country is not only critical to our collective future, but our duty to exercise our right to vote and participate in an open democracy,” concludes Taylor.

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