American Indian political action group closes

This is a sad post.

There is/was only one organization in the U.S. (to my knowledge) that was devoted to electing American Indians to political offices, and it just announced it is closing.

Kalyn Free, a citizen of the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma, has closed her INDN’s List.

The group was dedicated to the recruitment, election, and support of Native Americans to political office. INDN stands for “Indigenous Democratic Network.”

In a letter announcing the decision, Ms. Free wrote: “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 . . . .”

Free continued, “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.”

Over the past years, Free said, “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.”

Free worked at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Indian Resources Section, and supervised litigation throughout “Indian Country.” After her service in Washington, D.C., she was the first woman in history elected as District Attorney for Pittsburg and Haskell counties in southeastern Oklahoma.

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