Native American Presidential Forum 2020
Four Directions and Nevada Tribes
Native American Presidential Forum 2020
Tribal leaders from across Indian Country will serve as panelists when leading candidates for President of the United States take turns on stage during a two-day forum at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 14 and 15, 2020.
Four Directions, a Native American led voting rights organization, Native American Rights Fund, National Congress of American Indians, Native Organizers Alliance and Nevada Tribal Nations, announced they are partnering to host the Inaugural Four Directions and Nevada Tribes Presidential Forum 2020.
OJ Semans, Co-Executive Director of Four Directions, said, “Native American voters can influence election results in major swing states in 2020: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Colorado. Presidential candidates understand the importance of Native voters and that’s why our first historic event in Sioux City – the Frank LaMere Presidential Forum – was a success with eleven candidates participating including four of the current top tier Democratic candidates that have qualified for the December Democratic debate. At our inaugural Iowa event, nearly 200,000 viewers followed our live-stream broadcast of what one New York Times guest editorial called a high-minded dialogue with Indian Country.
“We’re also adding caucus training to our Las Vegas Forum. The training will show our tribal members what to expect at their local Nevada caucus and give them the skills to fully participate and perhaps take on a leadership role in their communities,” said Semans. Participating candidates’ campaigns will also have an opportunity to make their case for support to the caucus training attendees. The Native caucus training will be held on UNLV’s Boyd School of Law campus.
Amber Torres, Chairwoman of the Walker River Paiute Tribe, and Janet Davis, Councilwoman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, are excited about the partnership with other Nevada tribes as well as some of the most influential and recognized Native American organizations in the United States. “Our Tribes have been key players in ensuring voting rights throughout Indian Country in Nevada and through our efforts we were able to establish the very first satellite voting office on our reservations. This Native American Presidential Forum is just a continuation of bringing Native issues to the forefront and allowing our voices to be heard,” said Torres and Davis.
John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund, states, “Native voters consistently are ignored and excluded from state and federal political processes. The Native American Rights Fund is proud to be part of the process to tear down that tradition of discrimination. Only with an inclusive and representative government can justice be served. These national forums are a first step in having Native voices heard and Native issues addressed.”
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Chief Executive Officer Kevin Allis said his organization did not hesitate to sign on as a returning partner for this event. “The success of the first forum was a great learning experience for candidates and Native voters alike. NCAI and the partner organizations saw the power of collaborating on critical issues and want to continue the momentum of introducing Indian Country as modern communities and a critical voter bloc. Similar to the Sioux City forum, candidates from both parties who attend this forum will face tough questions from Native voters who expect and deserve real-world answers and solutions,” said Allis.
Semans concluded, “This is another chance for a serious and important conversation between candidates for the highest office in the land and our country’s First Americans. We hope they will accept our offer and participate.”
O.J. Semans, Sr.Bret Healy