Advance Native Political Leadership Releases First-Ever National Endorsement Slate of Native American Candidates Ahead of 2022 Midterms

Up and down the ballot, Native candidates are poised to make history in this election with a record-breaking number running for office.


September 30, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Against the backdrop of the largest wave of U.S. Indigenous candidates to run for office in United States history, Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund (Advance) is making history by releasing the first national endorsement slate of Native American candidates spanning local, state, and federal offices.

More than 142 Native American candidates made the leap to run for office during the 2022 midterm elections, the highest on record. To date, there are less than 200 Native Americans holding elected office in the United States, with more than 17,000 needed to reach representational parity in elected office based on population.

Statement from Holly Cook Macarro (Red Lake Band of Ojibwe), Endorsement Committee Spokesperson for Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund

“Indigenous leadership is transforming our country – look around us: Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan (White Earth Ojibwe), Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk), Congresswoman Mary Peltola (Yup’ik), Congressman Kai Kehele (Native Hawaiian). We’re still here, we’ve always been here, and we’ll continue to be here.”

It’s been 500 years of our people living under a narrative written for us, without us. With the election of Congresswoman Davids and then-Congresswoman Haaland in 2018, it was a critical paradigm shift in how our community saw its place at the table. Now we’re running and we’re winning. We deserve representation that looks like the communities they serve. Our peoples carry with them powerful lived experience, a culture of community leadership, and a vision for a more just and equitable world. The next 10 years will be a defining decade for Native leadership in this country and Advance intends to be at the forefront of it.

Statement from Anathea Chino (Acoma Pueblo), Co-Founder and Executive Director of Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund

“Our communities are under attack. We see it in the Supreme Court with challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and tribal sovereignty, on school boards with attacks on teaching our very history, on the edges of tribal lands with private corporations preying on our resources and sacred sites – we need Indigenous leadership now more than ever. We cannot allow others to define our narratives, Native peoples are defining our own destinies.”

The following candidates were selected for Advance’s inaugural slate:


• Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) - U.S. House of Representatives, Kansas District 3

• Mercedes Krause (Oglala Lakota) - U.S. House of Representatives, Nevada District 2

• Charles Graham (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) - U.S. House of Representatives, North Carolina District 9


• Peggy Flanagan (White Earth Ojibwe) - Lt. Governor of Minnesota

• Christina Haswood (Diné) - Kansas State House of Representatives, District 10

• Alan Roy (White Earth Ojibwe) - Minnesota State Senate, District 2

• Heather Keeler (Yankton Sioux and Eastern Shoshone) - Minnesota State House of Representatives, District 4A

• Shea Backus (Cherokee) - Nevada State Assembly, District 37

• Charlotte Little (San Felipe Pueblo) - New Mexico House of Representatives, District 68

• Ruth Anna Buffalo (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation) - North Dakota State House of Representatives, District 27

• Chris Stearns (Diné) - Washington State House of Representatives, District 47 - Position 2

• Claudia Kauffman (Nez Perce) - Washington State Senate, District 47

• Alicia Kozlowski (Ojibwe-Mexicana) - Minnesota State House of Representatives, District 8B

• Mary Kunesh-Podein (Standing Rock Sioux) - Minnesota State Senate, District 39


• Ceyshe Napa (Diné) - Phoenix Union School District, Ward 4

• Songtree Pioche (Taos Pueblo and Oglala Lakota) - New Mexico Magistrate Judge, San Juan Division 1

The Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund Inaugural Endorsement Committee is made up of Native leaders who represent the breadth of political power in Indian Country: Chaired by Advance Co-Founders Anathea Chino (Acoma Pueblo) and Chrissie Castro (Diné and Chicana) and members Holly Cook Macarro (Red Lake Band of Ojibwe), and Laurie Weahkee (Diné, Cochiti and Zuni Pueblo).

To read more about our full endorsement slate and Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund more broadly, visit

About Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund

Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund (Advance) is the first and only national Native-led organization working to build a complete ecosystem approach to power building in Native communities – leadership recruitment and support, civic engagement, data and research, and national coordination. Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund is our 501(c)(4) project, and is fiscally sponsored by Tides Advocacy.


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