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Kalle Benallie 
Indian Country Today

It’s still 12 months before Election Day 2022 and the midterm election. While Tuesday’s election results hold some truths as to what might happen, they are merely clues.

The Democrats hold the majority at the federal level. For now.

Democrats’ worst fears are that they’re on course for a 2010-like drubbing in next year’s midterm elections and that they can’t use the specter of former President Donald Trump to stop it.

The two biggest drags on Democrats are the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain problems that have pushed up prices. Both could improve over the next 12 months, potentially bolstering the incumbent party — or they could worsen.

Holly Cook Macarro, a regular contributor to ICT, said as moderates are gaining power over the Democrats, Indian Country needs to continue to advocate and play defense, especially since the so-called reconciliation bill continues to see cuts that affect Indian Country.

However, there is still hope as representation in politics is increasing.

“The American electorate no longer has this stereotypical expectation of what legislators and elected officials look like or where they come from. That is good for Indian Country, and we’re seeing a few candidates step up from Indian Country,” Cook Macarro said.

More than a dozen Native candidates ran for local office across the country, including at least 11 in Washington state

Here are some of the candidates who ran on Election Day, Nov. 2.

If any candidates were missed, email

Washington state

Melissa Watkinson, Chickasaw, ran for Bremerton City Council in Bremerton, Washington against Jeff Coughlin.

Jeremy J.J. Wilbur, Swinomish, ran for District 3 La Conner School Board in LaConner, Washington.

Bob Iyall, Nisqually, ran for Olympia Port Commissioner, District 2 against Jessie W. Simmons.

C’Ann Kariores, Colville, ran for Omak City Council against Michael Foth.

Chris Roberts, Choctaw, ran unopposed for Shoreline City Council.

Eric Day, Swinomish, ran for Skagit County Fire District 13 Commissioner against John Doyle.

LaTrisha Suggs, Jamestown S’Klallam, ran for Port Angeles City Council against Adam Garcia.

Lola Moses, Lower Elwha Klallam, ran for Port Angeles School Board against Sarah Methner.

Melissa Watkinson, Chickasaw, ran for Bremerton City Council, District 3 against Jeff Coughlin.

Ray Sheldon, Jr.,Tulalip, ran for Marysville School District School Board against Connor Krebbs.

Robbi Kesler, Skokomish, ran for Olympia City Council against Yen Huynh. 

Lea Anne Burke, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, ran for City of Snohomish council-at-large position 6. WON 


Rachel Banks Kupcho, Leech Lake Ojibwe, successfully won a seat for Richfield School Board in Richfield, Minnesota. She and two other candidates won after uncontested seats, the Sun Current reported.

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Renee K. Van Nett, Ojibwe, was reelected to the 4th district city council in Duluth, Minnesota. She won her seat against Howie Hanson. 

New Mexico

Songtree Pioche, Taos Pueblo and Oglala Lakota, ran for Bloomfield School Board, District 2, against Darrell Wayne Nichols.

Henry Silentman, Navajo, ran for Farmington City Council, District 2 against Sean Sharer.

Christine Suina, Cochiti Pueblo, ran for Bernalillo Public School Board, District 1. WON

Penelope Vigil, Jemez Pueblo, ran for Jemez Valley Public School Board, District 3. WON UNCONTESTED 


Leila Baker, Navajo and Southern Ute, ran for the Ignacio School Board. WON


Ma’Ko’Quah Abigail, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, ran for Lawrence City Commission in Kansas.


Grant Echohawk, ran for Ketchikan Borough Assembly. WON, according to KRBD.

Rachel Moreno, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, ran for Sitka Assembly Seat. LOST

Amber Frommherz, Diné, ran for Juneau District School Board. WON, according to the Juneau Empire.

Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Blake --Haida, Tlingit, Ahtna Athabascan--ran for Juneau Assembly. WON, according to the Juneau Empire.

Tribal Elections

Some tribes held recent elections.

Janet Alkire was elected to head the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, according to results released Tuesday.

She is the first woman to lead the tribal council in more than half a century. Gates Kelley was elected Standing Rock chairwoman in 1946 and was the first woman to preside over a tribe in the United States, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

Alkire received 829 votes to defeat current tribal Vice Chairman Ira Taken Alive, who came in with 762 votes. Taken Alive said he is contesting the results. Taken Alive edged Alkire in the July primary that advanced the top two vote-getters.

Her platform included prioritizing youth and elderly wellness initiatives, homelessness, economic development and government transparency. She favors mental health, addiction treatment and rehabilitation for all members and is an advocate for child welfare.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Gov. Reggie Wassana and Lt. Gov. Gib Miles won the Nov. 2 general election by a landslide, the first time the tribe has reelected its governor. Details here

Rodney Butler was elected, for the fifth consecutive time, as chairman to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut, confirmed by Public Affairs Director Lori Potter. He will serve for three years and has been since 2010, according to The Day.

He was also elected to a seventh tribal council, a position he’s held since 2003.

The chairman of the Hopi Tribe in Arizona has won another term in office.

Chairman Tim Nuvangyaoma received 841 votes in the election, beating David Talayumptewa, a retired U.S. Bureau of Indian Education official who represents Kykotsmovi on the Tribal Council, by 254 votes. 

Nuvangyaoma will have an ally in Vice Chairman-elect Craig Andrews, who beat incumbent Clark Tenakhongva. The candidates don't run on a ticket, but Nuvangyaoma and Andrews campaigned together.

Races will be updated when results are known.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story