There are more Native American candidates running for Congress, Governor, Lt. Governor, and state legislatures than ever before. And for the first time, more of those candidates are women than men. Historic.
But it’s like a tree falling quietly in the forest. This history would be easy to miss. So three national media organizations will make history too, broadcasting and streaming the first national news report focused on Native American candidates from coast to coast.
FNX | First Nations Experience will broadcast Native Election Night Live for five hours from its studios in San Bernardino, California, starting` at 6 p.m. Pacific.
The election desk will be anchored by Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, known in Indian Country as the go-to expert on American Indians and Alaska Natives who are running for office. Trahant began collecting the names of Native candidates several years ago for his then independent blog, Trahant Reports. Trahant is a citizen of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
Antonia Gonzales is the anchor and producer of National Native News which airs on tribal and public radio stations across the United States and Canada. The program has won numerous awards for covering social, economic and cultural issues, which impact Indigenous people worldwide. Gonzales is a member of the Navajo Nation.
Trahant is the content editor for the production and says there will be correspondents feeding live reports from a dozen cities across the country. Sky Vasquez of Winuba Productions will be the program’s producer and Micah Wright of FNX is the executive producer.
Where will the correspondents be reporting from?
Rhonda LeValdo will be in Kansas City following Sharice Davids. Davids, Ho Chunk, is making a bid for Congress in the Kansas third congressional district.
Darren Brown and Graham Brewer will be checking the statewide and congressional races in Oklahoma. There are three Native candidates for statewide office in Oklahoma. The contest between incumbent Republican Markwayne Mullin and Democratic challenger Jason Nichols in the Oklahoma second congressional district. This race is historic because it’s the first one where both the Republican and the Democrat are Cherokee Nation citizens. Graham Brewer writes for the High Country News Tribal affairs team.
Minnesota is another state where Native candidates are on both sides of the ballot. Mary Annette Pember will be following Democrat Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation, in her bid for the state’s Lt. Governor. She faces Donna Bergstrom, Red Lake Band, who is the GOP nominee for the same office. Fawn Youngbear Tibbets will be live from the Bergstrom campaign headquarters.
Monica Braine will be in Albuquerque reporting on another remarkable congressional race, that of Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo.
Haaland and Davids would both be the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Ever. One point of commentary for the night: Would Davids be the first due to an early time zone?
Patty Talahongva will be in Tucson reporting on state Senate candidates Sally Ann Gonzales, Pascua Yaqui, and Victoria Steele, Seneca.
Lori Edmo will be live from Boise, Idaho, following Paulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene. Jordan would be the first Native American woman to ever serve as a state governor. In Salt Lake City, Samantha Eldridge and Sahar Khadjenoury will provide updates from the congressional campaign of James Singer.
But she is not alone either. Andria Tupola is the GOP nominee in Hawaii. (Because of time zones that story will be posted in the wrap broadcast the next day.) That story will be reported by Keala Kelly.
Tristan Ahtone and Anna Smith will be in Seattle. Dino Rossi, Tlingit, is the Republican candidate for Congress in the 8th district. Ahtone and Smith both write for the High Country News Tribal affairs team.
Jennifer Canfield will be in Anchorage reporting on the final twist and turns in Alaska’s politics. (This week the Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, Tlingit, resigned and was replaced by Valerie Davidson, Yupik, and then two days later the governor said he was suspending his campaign.) Look for Canfield to make sense of all this and she will be following Debra Call, Dena'ina, as she is the only remaining candidate for Lt. Governor.)
Who’s winning? And by how much? At the FNX Election Headquarters, reporters Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Tsanavi Spoonhunter, and Aliyah J. Chavez will report the latest vote tallies from across the country.
There will also be phone reports from the Navajo Nation election, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Expert commentary will come from Nicole Willis in San Bernardino and Amber Ebarb in Washington, DC. Willis is a campaign veteran and will reveal the inside thinking of election campaigns. Ebarb examines Native voting totals from turnout to where the Native vote is most effective.
On Wednesday the same team will produce an hour-long special that provides a summary of election night.
Every hour Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling will anchor a two-minute newscast during Election Night Live.
FNX | First Nations Experience is the first and only broadcast television network exclusively devoted to Native American and World Indigenous content. Through Native-produced and/or themed documentaries, dramatic series, nature, cooking, gardening, children’s and arts programming, FNX strives to accurately illustrate the lives and cultures of Native people around the world.
Created as a shared vision between Founding Partners, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Bernardino Community College District, FNX is owned by and originates from the studios of KVCR-PBS San Bernardino.
About Native Voice One
NV1 programs are carried by over 180 affiliates, from reservation and village-based stations to top-market urban radio stations throughout the United States and Canada. NV1 also offers a twenty-four hour web stream with access to unique programming with an Indigenous perspective.
About Indian Country Today
Indian Country Today is a daily digital news platform that covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. Indian Country Today is the largest news site that covers tribes and Native people throughout the Americas. Our primary focus is delivering news to a national audience via a mobile phone or the web.