More Good News!

I have great news: this morning, District Court Judge James Boasberg ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be shut down within 30 days! In this momentous ruling, Judge Boasberg found that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of Energy Transfer’s crude oil pipeline, and that there were too many safety concerns to allow its continued operation. While this order only shuts DAPL down for 13 months while the Army Corps completes additional environmental assessments and safety planning, there is a good chance that when the oil is drained in 30 days, that oil will never flow again!

Lakota LawShares in DAPL’s parent company—Energy Transfer Partners—dropped 7% today.

We commend the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and their legal team at EarthJustice for years of dedication and persistence in this struggle to defang the Black Snake. And we are proud of the amicus brief that our legal team submitted in the lead up to this decision. We’re also elated that Judge Boasberg cited many of the questions we and our allies have raised since the beginning of the NoDAPL struggle. First, that it’s simply wrong to conduct an environmental assessment of a pipeline after it’s already been built. Second, that DAPL’s leak detection abilities are so poor it could be leaking more than 6,000 barrels of oil every day without detection, and Energy Transfer’s abysmal pipeline safety record raises that risk even further. Third, that there is no proper cleanup plan for a wintertime spill, when freezing Dakota winters make response the most difficult. Boasberg even went one step further, concluding that the drop in oil demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic makes shutting down the pipeline now less harmful to North Dakota’s economy.

So what comes next? First, Energy Transfer has to drain and shut down DAPL by August 6th. The Army Corps of Engineers then has 13 months to further study potential pipeline leaks and the dangers they pose. This ruling could still be appealed in the Federal District Court of D.C., but our analysis tells us that such an appeal is unlikely to succeed.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your tireless support, and for staying with us throughout this journey.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for standing with us to protect our water, our land, and our families!

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

P.S. This has truly been a week of good news: just yesterday the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, slated to run from West Virginia to North Carolina, was canceled. In a joint statement, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cited ongoing delays, expected cost increases, and legal challenges from environmental and other groups as threats to the project’s viability. The trend away from fossil fuels is becoming stronger with each passing day, thanks to your activism and the support of so many others like you.

 

More about this:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2020
CONTACT:
Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association
NCAI Press
Mauda Moran
Great Plains Tribes Win Important Legal Fight to Protect Tribal Water and Treaty Resources
The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Congress of American Indians Fund (NCAI Fund) applaud the D.C. District Court’s decision today to vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Oahe easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to require the removal of all oil flowing through the pipeline by August 5, 2020. This decision ensures that the treaty-reserved rights of the plaintiff tribes – the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe – are adequately addressed, along with any other land and natural resource considerations, in a full-fledged and well-documented environmental review process.
GPTCA, NARF, and NCAI Fund participated in a coalition of Native organizations submitting an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff tribes during the latest proceedings in the D.C. District Court and are encouraged by this outcome. We hope that this decision helps pave the way for full and proper environmental impact studies as well as meaningful consultation with tribal nations that have direct or indirect stewardship over the lands under review. Our organizations will continue to work to ensure that every time tribal lands and resources are at stake, the environmental review processes meet all legal standards and respect the federal government’s trust obligations to tribes set forth in federal laws.
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About the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association:
Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association is made up of the 16 Tribal Chairmen, Presidents, and Chairpersons in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Their purpose is to provide a forum for sharing information on matters of interest to its member Tribes, develop consensus on matters of mutual importance, assist member Tribes in their governmental and programmatic development consistent with their goals for self-determination, and self-sufficiency and provide for effective public relations and education program with non-Indian communities. For more information, please visit http://gptca.net/index.html
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
About the Native American Rights Fund:
Founded in 1970, NARF is the oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and individual Indians nationwide. For the past 50 years, NARF has represented over 275 Tribes in 31 states in such areas as tribal jurisdiction, federal recognition, land claims, hunting and fishing rights, religious liberties, and voting rights. For more information, visit www.narf.org.

 

The Native Vote Intiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 28, 2020
CONTACT:
NCAI to Launch 2020 Native Vote Efforts with Star-Studded Virtual Rally
WASHINGTON, D.C. | On Thursday, May 28th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EDT, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp and DJ Emcee One will co-host the Native Vote Taking Action in 2020 Virtual Rally. This event will serve as the official kick-off for NCAI’s Native Vote initiative for 2020 and will stream live online via NCAI’s Facebook and YouTube channels to launch voter engagement in one of the most important years for civic engagement in Indian Country.
The evening’s lineup features appearances by:
·        Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM)
·        Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today and The Trahant Report
·        Natalie Landreth, Native American Rights Fund
·        OJ Semans, Sr., Four Directions, Inc.
·        Shelly Diaz, Native Vote Coordinator, Minnesota
·        Nichole Donaghy, Native Vote Coordinator, North Dakota
·        Jasha Lyons-Echohawk, Native Vote Coordinator, Oklahoma
·        Lindsey McCovey, Native Vote Coordinator, California
·        Teresa Melendez, Native Vote Coordinator, Nevada
·        Travis Lane, Native Vote Coordinator, Arizona
·        Anthony Tamez-Pochel, Youth Board Member, Center for Native American Youth
Native Vote is a legacy, nonpartisan voting initiative of NCAI which focuses on the key pillars of Voter Registration and Get-Out-The-Native-Vote (GOTNV), Election Protection, Education, and Data Collection. To read more about the Native Vote initiative, visit www.nativevote.org.
###
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
National Congress of American Indians
Embassy of Tribal Nations
1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Important Online Meeting!

https://350org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LUAGAezKT6-xZvgneKG9Og

Organize to Win in 2020
Description

We’re hosting an urgent call to provide updates on the status of Keystone XL, what we’re doing to fight back in the midst of COVID-19, and how we can win in November.

Sign up below to join our call on Thursday, May 14th at 8pm ET/5pm PT to hear from Bill McKibben, key partners, and members of the 350.org team about what’s next.

If you can, please have some paper and a marker or pen available to participate in a quick activity during the call.

Time

May 14, 2020 07:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Montana, Navajo-owned company reach deal on sovereign immunity

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/montana-navajo-owned-company-reach-deal-on-sovereign-immunity-g-y4lyhK0UGjTLyqturwCw

The Associated Press

Matthew Brown

Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators have reached a deal allowing the state to enforce environmental laws at a large coal mine bought by a Navajo-owned company, officials said Thursday.

For months, executives from the Navajo Transitional Energy Company and state officials had been unable to resolve demands the company waive its immunity as a tribal entity from future lawsuits.

The mine shut down briefly in October when the dispute over sovereignty first emerged. Thursday’s agreement came a day before a temporary waiver agreement was set to expire.

The Navajo company bought the 275-worker Spring Creek strip mine along the Wyoming border and two mines in Wyoming last year from bankrupt Cloud Peak Energy.https _images.saymedia-content.com_.image_MTcxMTA1NzUzODk2MDY5MTA1_ap_20007830298569

 

Regarding Deadly Epidemics

https _images.saymedia-content.com_.image_MTcwNzM2MTY0MTc1Njg0ODcw_1918-mass-grave

Joaqlin Estus

A lethal epidemic that ‘decimated’ and ‘annihilated’ Indigenous people

 

‘Indigenous people all over the world were especially vulnerable; some were not just decimated but sometimes annihilated’
In the past few hundred years more than half of the Alaska Native population was decimated by wave after wave of diseases such as the measles, smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. Then a devastating worldwide influenza epidemic forever changed Alaska’s demographics, making Natives a minority in their homeland.

The spectre of a new epidemic triggers painful memories for Native Americans and others who heard first hand about the 1918 influenza pandemic. After all, it killed 50 to 100 million people, as much as a quarter of the world population. The 1918 influenza was highly contagious with a 2.5 percent mortality rate. (Estimates indicate the COVID-19 virus has a 2.3 percent mortality rate, although that figure may change as researchers learn more about how many people were infected.)

The 1918 influenza spread worldwide in less than a year, and struck and killed people quickly. It attacked people in their 20s and 30s, when immune systems are usually at their strongest. People would come down with a headache, nausea and a fever then die as soon as three days later. They would turn blue and suffocate as lungs filled with fluid. Some experienced hemorrhaging from the nose, stomach, ears and even the eyes.

“Indigenous people all over the world were especially vulnerable; some were not just decimated but sometimes annihilated,” stated Benjamin R. Brady of University of Arizona and Howard M. Bahr of Brigham Young University in a 2014 American Indian Quarterly article. “Native Americans ‘suffered hideously,’ with mortality rates four times higher than in the wider population.”

North Dakota Expansion Approved ~:(

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you with some unfortunate news: on Wednesday, the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) in a 3-0 vote. If the pipeline’s operators get the same approval in Iowa and Illinois, DAPL’s capacity will double to carry over a million barrels of oil per day.

Lakota Law
The North Dakota Public Service Commission has allowed an expansion doubling the oil flow through the Dakota Access pipeline. In our video from the original hearing, you can watch oil industry engineers dissembling about the impacts.

Once again, my people and homelands are intentionally ignored in the interest of increasing profits for the fossil fuel industry. As Standing Rock citizens, my relatives and I will be forced to bear the threat DAPL poses to our water and land. And every human being will now face the danger of increased oil production as our climate warms.

We were at the hearing on DAPL expansion in Linton, North Dakota last November. We helped the tribe muster opposition. And we watched as gas and oil employees and their attorneys lied about the risks. You can watch our video showing those lies here. We know the truth: more oil = more risk.

North Dakota’s PSC claimed in its announcement yesterday that expansion was in the best interest of the state’s citizens, but this of course ignores the valid concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe about the increased threat of surging. And when the Tribe requested more information from Dakota Access about the risks that doubling oil flow could hold for tribal water supplies, the PSC denied the request, citing bureaucratic procedure.

All pipelines leak. In the 15 years before DAPL began operations, 60 leaks spilled more than 42,000 barrels of toxic crude oil in North Dakota alone. This was the reason we stood in prayerful resistance to stop DAPL. It is why we faced rubber bullets, attack dogs, and water cannons. We are facing down a threat to our water, and now that threat is heightened.

We will, however, press on. With Keystone XL on the horizon, we’re readying for another battle for our water, and this time we intend to win. We’re also planning major initiatives on voting in Indian Country during this critical election cycle, and we’re breaking ground on a major festival and teach-in later this year at Standing Rock that will bring musicians, activists, and scientists together to confront the climate crisis.

We hope you stay with us in the fight against the madness of continued dependence on fossil fuels. Time is short. To protect all life on earth we need to act immediately.

Sincerely,

Phyllis Young
Standing Rock Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Vote 2020

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/12-native-candidates-for-congress-if-elected-it-will-be-a-great-day-GovPIjk3rkmqOvGFI0s1tA?utm_source=maven-coalition&utm_medium=salish&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=notification&utm_content=featured

 

Vote 2020

Elisa Martinez, Navajo Nation, is a candidate for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. She is one of 12 Native candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate in 2020. She faces Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, in the GOP primary. (Candidate photo via Twitter)

edited

There are 12 Native candidates running for United States Congress in the 2020 election cycle #NativeVote20 * This story has been updated

“If I get the opportunity to serve in Congress, it will be a great day,” Kaialiʻi “Kai” Kahele told Indian Country Today. “It won’t just be me standing up there. Behind me will be all of the people, ancestors and Native Hawaiians who came before me.”

Kahele is running to be the first. Since Hawaii became a state more than 60 years ago, there has never been a representative from the Big Island. Every national elected politician has come from Oahu.

That’s 15 in a row, if you are counting.

He also would be only the second Native Hawaiian to serve in office. Across the country a dozen Native candidates are running for the U.S. House and Senate. It’s already shaping up to be another record year, 2018 broke all sorts of barriers including the election of the first two Native women to ever serve in Congress. (With a possible third, Tricia Zunker, running in Wisconsin this week.)

(Previous story: History again? Voters could send another Native woman to Congress)

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ICT_4k_16x9_NativeCandidates_2020_TKA_RTP

History unfolds

A few tidbits: New Mexico is breaking all the rules. There is a Native candidate in every single district in the state. Both parties are represented. There’s even a primary where one Native candidate is running against another.

A comprehensive look at all of the #NativeVote20 candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

There are at least nine of the candidates running for House seats and three are in Senate campaigns. Eight of the candidates are women and five are men. Seven are democrats and six are republicans.

The list of Native candidates and their platforms are below:

Karen Bedonie-crop
Karen Bedonie(Photo by Karen Bedonie, campaign website)

Karen Bedonie
Navajo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 3
Republican

Karen Bedonie, Navajo, is running for an open congressional seat in New Mexico’s 3rd district. Bedonie owns four small businesses. She is also a certified welder, framer, construction coordinator, construction manager, kitchen interior designer and a sous chef.

Bedonie, a republican candidate, cites her policy positions clearly on her campaign website. Bedonie is anti-abortion, supports the second amendment, aims to support small businesses and believes immigration should be conducted in a “legal organized manner.”

“I am a Conservative and those same values miraculously align with Navajo culture,” Bedonie’s campaign website states. “Therefore I stand as a Republican.”

Bedonie’s campaign has generated more than $15,000, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. Bedonie is currently running against five other candidates for the Republican party’s nomination. The primary election for this seat will happen on June 2, 2020.

(Related story: ‘It’s time to put a Navajo in Congress’)

Dineh Benally_Navajo
Dineh Benally(Photo courtesy Dineh Benally, via Facebook)

Dineh Benally
Navajo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 3
Democrat

Dineh Benally, Navajo, is running as a Democrat for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district (note: this is the same seat Bedonie is running for). Benally has previous campaign experience running for Navajo Nation president, vice president, and New Mexico state senate. He did not win any of these previous elections.

Benally is the current president of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Farm Board, an organization that focuses on water rights and bettering local economies.

The list of issues on Benally’s agenda are improving healthcare, increased access to medical and industrial agriculture, boosting home ownership and increased funding for education.

Benally told Indian Country Today that his end goal is to collaborate with various policymakers to improve the “livelihood of Navajo people, Native Americans, and the general public at large.”

“I will also continue to work towards becoming the next President of the Navajo Nation in 2022,” says Benally’s website.

There is no current data on Benally’s campaign earnings listed on the Federal Election Commission’s website. The primary election for this congressional seat will happen on June 2, 2020.

Pictured: Former Trump administration Indian Affairs official Dr. Gavin Clarkson.
(Photo courtesy Gavin Clarkson, Campaign website)(Photo: gavinclarkson.com)

Gavin Clarkson
Choctaw Nation
U.S. Senate, New Mexico
Republican

Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Clarkson recently served in the Department of the Interior under the Trump Administration where he managed the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the Office of Self-Governance.

“My story is quite different from most people who spend their lives climbing the political stepladder aspiring to be another career politician,” Clarkson said in a press release announcing his campaign in August.

“I’m a tribal member whose orphaned father went from living out of trash cans to being the first Native American to fly a jet. I have a law degree, an MBA, and a Doctorate in Business Administration,” he said. “I’ve taught for two decades as a conservative in higher education and been illegally fired for it, and I’ve served as an economic development official in the Trump administration in the heart of the swamp.”

Clarkson has been named an expert in tribal finance by The Financial Times and has taught federal Indian law since 2003 at a variety of law schools across the country. In his free time, Clarkson says he enjoys country western dancing. He won a national championship hosted by the American Country Dance Association in 2012.

Clarkson has raised more than $583,000 so far in his Senate campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. The primary election for his party’s nomination will happen on June 2, 2020. To win the Republican nomination, Clarkson will need to receive more votes than the five other Republican candidates running for the open seat.

(Related: North Carolina’s ninth congressional district tribal vote could be blueprint)

Congressman Tom Cole
Rep. Tom Cole (Photo by U.S. House Office of Photography)

Tom Cole
Chickasaw Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma, District 4
Republican

Tom Cole, Chickasaw, will run for reelection to continue representing Oklahoma’s fourth district. His office told Indian Country Today that every indication is that Rep. Cole will seek  reelection and an official announcement will be made before the filing deadline in April.

Cole has served in the U.S. House for the last 17 years and has held numerous leadership positions with the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee.

Cole co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus with Rep. Deb Haaland. Together they called for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to include provisions for Native people that were altered in the Senate version. He and 77 lawmakers upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District is reconsidering. Additionally, he helped introduce a bill to improve housing conditions in Indian Country and co-sponsored a bill to revitalize Native American languages.

Oklahoma’s primary election takes place on June 30.

Official Portrait_0
Rep. Sharice Davids(Photo by U.S. House Office of Photography)

Sharice Davids Ho-Chunk Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, Kansas, District 3
Democrat

Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, is running for reelection as the congressional member for Kansas’s 3rd district. When she was first elected in 2018, she joined Rep. Haaland as the first two Native women to serve in U.S. Congress. She also became the first LGBTQ Native person to be elected into the U.S. Congress.

In her first term, Davids’ introduced the Women’s Business Center Improvement Act to increase access and resources to women entrepreneurs in Kansas. She urged the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to include tribal communities when it develops its legislative plan. And she advocated for tribal sovereignty, in support of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act and co-sponsored Savanna’s Act, which aims to help law enforcement address missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Kansas’ primary election will take place on August 4.

Deb Haaland
Laguna Pueblo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 1
Democrat

Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, is running for reelection as the representative for New Mexico’s 1st district. Haaland was first elected to this position in 2018 when she and Rep. Davids became the first two Native women to serve in Congress.

Haaland told Indian Country Today that despite being an incumbent in this election cycle, her “enthusiasm and focus will be the same.”

In her first term Haaland introduced legislation to restore buffalo populations on tribal lands and she made history by inviting Isleta Pueblo Chief Judge Verna Teller to deliver the first opening prayer on the House floor by a Native person. Other highlights of her term include collaborating with other New Mexico congress members to introduce legislation on Native voting rights. She has also been vocal about missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Haaland has also used her time to travel to Indigenous communities outside of her home district in New Mexico. Earlier this month, Haaland visited the Meskwaki Indian Settlement on the night of the Iowa caucus to campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“I may not be the congresswoman for Iowa but I am the congresswoman for Indian Country,” Haaland said at the event. “My door is open for all of you.”

Haaland has raised more than $830,000 so far in her reelection campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. The primary election in New Mexico will happen on June 2, 2020. Haaland is currently facing one democrat opponent for the nomination.

Herrell-Mountain-Range-portrait (1) (1)_
Yvette Herrell (Campaign photo)

Yvette Herrell
Cherokee Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 2
Republican

Yvette Herrell, Cherokee, is running to represent the second district of New Mexico in the U.S. Congress. Previously Herrell served four terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives. She is also a former small business owner and entrepreneur.

“Born and raised in New Mexico, I understand firsthand what our families are going through,” Herrell said on her campaign website. “I will fight for our hardworking middle class, job creators, and traditions that make New Mexico great.”

Herrell also states her views on various policies. She says she wants to complete construction of the border wall, protect the second amendment, support President Trump, defeat the Green New Deal and expand New Mexico’s role in national security projects.

Herrell has received a number of endorsements from policymakers including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-AZ and Governor Mike Huckabee. She also received endorsements from Cowboys for Trump, Citizens United and Gun Owners of America.

In 2018, Herrell ran for this congressional seat and lost in a close race. She lost in the general election by just 3,700 votes. This time around, Herrell is running against two other republicans for her party’s nomination. The primary election is held in New Mexico on June 2, 2020.

Herrell has raised more than $650,000 for her campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee.

Paulette Jordan, Coeur d'Alene, announced her run for U.S. Senate in Idaho on February 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Palette for Senate)
Paulette JordanPaulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, announced her run for U.S. Senate in Idaho on February 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Palette for Senate)

Paulette Jordan
Coeur d’Alene
U.S. Senate, Idaho
Democrat

Paulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Idaho. She previously held office for two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives. In 2018, she unsuccessfully ran for governor of Idaho.

“I’m excited to announce my candidacy to represent Idaho in the U.S. Senate. Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to thousands of Idahoans throughout this great state,” Jordan said on her campaign website announcing her campaign in early February. “Above all, I’ve learned that our state needs new leadership. We need leaders who value people over politics.”

Her stance on issues range from improving healthcare and education for Idahoans, addressing cyber security, social security, LGBTQ rights and legalizing marijuana. Jordan founded two nonprofit organizations, Idaho Voice and Save the American Salmon.

Jordan was the youngest member on her tribal council and has worked in the energy sector as a business development strategist. She also served as the finance chair and secretary of the executive board for the National Indian Gaming Association.

There is currently no data on Jordan’s campaign donations, according to the Federal Election Committee. Currently Jordan faces three opponents for the democratic party’s nomination. The primary election will choose their party’s candidate on May 19, 2020.

(Related: Nap time? Paulette Jordan says ‘no’ and she’s running for US Senate)

Kai Kahele
Native Hawaiian
U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii, District 2
Democrat

Kaialiʻi “Kai” Kahele is running for an open congressional seat in Hawaii’s second district. Kahele has been a Hawaii state senator for four years and is a trained pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He has flown in the Air Force for more than 18 years.

Kahele lists 18 different policy platforms on his campaign website. They include protecting the environment, creating opportunities for indigenous voices, and combating issues such as homelessness, substance abuse and food insecurity.

On the topic of Native Hawaiian and Indigenous rights, Kahele says he will “champion” the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and would support the Self Determination Act to fund the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. He also supports the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Declaration of Rights on Indigenous Peoples.

(Related: The First Native Hawaiian To Serve, Former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka dies)

Most recently Kahele has been endorsed by former Governors of Hawaii John David Waiheʻe, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie. He has also been endorsed by Rep. Seth Moulton, D-MA, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA, and former Hawaii state representative Kaniela Ing.

Kahele has raised more than $719,000 for his congressional campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. Currently, Kahele faces one opponent in the primary election. Voters will head to the polls for Hawaii’s primary election on August 8, 2020.

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Elisa Martinez(Photo from Elisa Martinez campaign via Twitter)

Elisa Martinez
Navajo
U.S. Senate, New Mexico
Republican

Elisa Martinez, Navajo, is running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico in the the same race as Gavin Clarkson.

She is the founder of the New Mexico Alliance for Life and worked with the Congressional Select Panel on Infant Lives.

“Let’s take back New Mexico’s future,” Martinez writes on her campaign website. “Together we’ll make history electing New Mexico’s first female Senator and the first Native American woman in the U.S. Senate.”

Martinez says she is concerned about border security, the second amendment, non-universal healthcare, veterans’ rights and reducing the federal government’s role in education.

She wrote an op-ed for Fox News, calling out Elizabeth Warren’s heritage as a Native woman contradictory to the Native American policies she advocates for, and Martinez’s personal experience with the government’s relationship with the reservation.

Martinez has raised more than $154,000 for her campaign, data from the Federal Elections Committee shows. She is running against five other candidates for the republican nomination. The primary election will be held on June 2, 2020 in New Mexico.

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Rep. Markwayne Mullin(Photo from U.S. House of Photography)

Markwayne Mullin
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma, District, 2
Republican

Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, is running for reelection as the congressman for Oklahoma’s second district. He was first elected in 2012 and served for three years on the Energy and Commerce Committee since 2015. He also owns Mullin Plumbing, a business owned previously by his father.

Mullin’s time in Congress has included introducing landmark legislation. He helped introduce a bill for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and joined lawmakers to reauthorize and increase funding for special diabetes programs. And he advocated to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to consider the Pay for Our Doctor’s Act., a bill he introduced, to fund Indian Health Services until the end of the 2019 fiscal year before the federal government shutdown.

Mullin has raised more than $766,000 for his reelection campaign since January 2019, data from the Federal Elections Committee shows. Oklahoma’s primary election will happen on June 30, 2020.

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Rudy Soto (Photo courtesy of Rudy Soto)

Rudy Soto
Shoshone-Bannock
U.S. House of Representatives, Idaho, District 1
Democrat

Rudy Soto, Shoshone-Bannock, is running to represent Idaho’s first congressional district. Previously Soto was the legislative director of the National Indian Gaming Association. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard.

“I’m really passionate about growing Native American representation on all levels of government,” Soto told Indian Country Today. “If I’m elected, I will always strive to represent my family, community, tribe, state and Indian Country in a good way.”

Some of Soto’s priorities include creating affordable housing, providing universal health care, supporting Idaho’s Native communities, and reforming immigration and education.

Previously, Soto was also the legislative assistant for Congresswoman Norma Torres of California, and a legislative fellow for Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

Soto has raised more than $18,000 for his congressional campaign, data from the Federal Election Commissions show. Idaho will have its primary election on May 19, 2020.

Indian Country Today - small phone logo

Indian Country Today is maintaining databases of Native candidates for offices across the country. If you know of any Native candidates running for U.S. Congress that are not included here, please contact Aliyah Chavez.

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today’s Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

Kalle Benallie contributed to this report