Bad News for Indian Country: INDN’s List Closes

How does the American Indian improve his life today?  If he’s not completely strapped down by the terrible conditions of most of our reservations he or she would get involved with politics.

That’s how we change things.

It was good for us that groups like INDN’s List existed to help elect American Indians to public office. Today we received the news that INDN’s List is going to shut down.

Native American Netroots is deeply saddened to lose this important group.

More below:

My email notification:

In 2005, many of you joined in my dream and vision of building an organization to recruit, train, support and elect American Indians to public office across America.  Some of you volunteered countless hours, some gave thousands of dollars and others the proverbial widow’s mite, some shared your expertise at our INDN Campaign Camps, one made a quilt while others generously bid on it, and hundreds of you sent encouraging words of inspiration and prayed for our candidates and staff.

As we say goodbye to another year, we also say goodbye to INDN’s List.  I am deeply saddened to tell you that INDN’s List is closing our doors.  In 2009 and 2010, I personally financially supported INDN’s List and paid most of our overhead and salaries.  Regrettably, we have simply been unable to expand our donor base beyond a handful of visionary tribes, unions and individuals.  And, the tribes who supported us in our first four years just did not come through these last two years.

Because of you, in the last six years, INDN’s List has achieved tremendous success.  We helped American Indians win 63 elections.  Prior to this election cycle, we won 70% of our races.  We helped an American Indian woman win statewide office in Montana, helped Indians win office in several chambers where they had never served, helped bring more Indians into office than at any point in history and were instrumental in holding caucuses on reservations for the first time in a presidential primary in Nevada.

Equally as important, INDN’s List trained hundreds of volunteers, staff and candidates and cast a bright spotlight on the dearth of Indians serving in public office.  I have always said, “Little Indian boys and girls cannot be what they cannot see.”  I am most proud that INDN’s List played a role in giving future generations of Indian children concrete examples of what they can be.

The Republican onslaught took out so many of our excellent office holders and candidates.  Sadly, INDN’s List will not be around to help Indians regain the ground we have lost.  Even with our major losses, Indians are more represented today than we were six years ago.

This would not be true without the generous support of several tribes, labor unions, organizations and individuals. Among the most faithful of our supporters are:

Governor Howard Dean * Congressman Mike Honda * Senator Al Franken * Senator Michael Brown * Chairman Gus Franks * Vice Chairman Glynn Crooks * Chairman Robert Martin * Councilwoman Mary Ann Andreas * Chief Jim Gray * Chairman Ron Allen * Councilman Bill John Baker * Councilwoman Cara Cowan Watts

Jim Adelman * Sam Alexander * Sandra Beasley * Richard Bell * Lorene Bishop * Carma Lee Brock * Steve Bruner * Jessa Bush * Lori Cain * Anne Caprara * Rob Capriccioso * Lawrence Crooks * Brian Daffron * Ada Deer * Lindsay Earls * Tom Farris * Susan Filbert * Peggy Flanagan * Jim and Sally Frasier * Andy Frye * John Gaines * Todd Goodman * Lisa Gover * Louis Gray * Faye Hadley * Dennis Hall * Willie Hardacker * LaDonna Harris * Laura Harris * David Harrison * Joan and Ken Hilterbrand * Robert Holden * Adam Holmes * Gordon Holmes * Representative Chuck and Stephanie Hoskin * Megan Hull * Patricia Ireland * Somelea Jackson * John Jameson * Marlene Jones * Dana Jim * Woody Kaplan * Micah Kordsmeier * George Krumme * Celinda Lake * Frank Lamere * Barbara Lee * Bob Lemon * Representative Al McAffrey * Jason McCarty * Luckie McClintock * Tammy McCullar * Dorthy McGill * Theresa McMillan * Brad Miller * David Ocamb * Dave Parker * Jodi Rave * Bill and Rose Ann Risenhoover * Joan Rogin * Susan Rowe * Courtney Ruark * Laura Sanders * Charles Siegel * Marty Smith * Dane Strother * Ronda Talley * Andy Tobias * Mark Trahant * Frosty Troy * Jennifer Vanderheide  * Merv Wampold * Mary Beth Williams * Vickie Winpisinger * Sherilyn Wright

Forest County Potawatomi * Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community * San Manuel Band of Mission Indians * Muckleshoot Indian Tribe * Tulalip Tribes * Chickasaw Nation * Cherokee Nation

IBEW  * NEA  *  UAPP  *  TWU  * USW  * IBT * SEIU * AFL-CIO * Democracy for America * EMILY’s List * Native American Times * Indian Country Today * 21st Century Democrats * Wellstone Action

The past six years have been extremely challenging and deeply rewarding.  I will always cherish the memories of watching Claudia Kauffman take her oath of office to become the only Indian woman serving in the Washington Senate, and Al McAffrey become the first openly gay man elected to the Oklahoma House, and Chuck Hoskin be the standard bearer for Indian Country both in Oklahoma and across the nation, and helping elect Denise Juneau as the first Indian woman to hold statewide office in Montana and Barbara McIlvaine Smith as the first Indian in the Pennsylvania House.

My dream of seeing the first Indian woman in Congress, an Indian Governor and ultimately an Indian President lives on.  They are all out there, somewhere.  And maybe, just maybe, INDN’s List has helped show them the way.  

I have been deeply blessed and honored to have your support throughout these last six years.

In deepest gratitude and admiration,

    Yakoke, *

Kalyn Free

   Kalyn Free

   President, INDN’s List

* “Thank You,” in Choctaw.

PS: If you need to contact any of us, here is our new contact information:

Kalyn Free

[emphasis mine]

We needed this group, now what are we going to do?

This is terrible.

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About Neeta Lind

Neeta Lind is a tribally enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. In 2006, she founded Native American Netroots, an online forum for the discussion of political, social and economic issues affecting the indigenous peoples of the United States, including their lack of political representation, economic deprivation, health care issues, and the on-going struggle for preservation of identity and cultural history. Neeta has led the Native American Caucus at Netroots Nation for six years. Her blogging at Daily Kos in 2010 caught the attention of Keith Olbermann, who focused two segments of MSNBC's “Countdown” on the winter ice storm disaster in South Dakota that devastated the Lakota reservations. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised to help these tribes as a result. She is co-editor of the Daily Kos series “First Nations News & Views.” Neeta, who blogs under the moniker "navajo" also organizes regional in-person Daily Kos events to facilitate future political actions throughout the nation. She is an Urban Indian living the San Francisco Bay Area.