Update: Navajos, Apaches Working to Turn AZ Blue

The Navajo County Chair, Eric Kramer, came up with a wonderful idea for fundraising a few months ago: He wrote about how to win Arizona by increasing turnout on the Navajo Nation. His article in the Daily Kos exploded the coffers of the Navajo County Democratic Party, which has been kind enough (and smart enough) to share the wealth with the Coconino and Apache County parties. An update on the progress of some of the work of these three counties was published today in the Daily Kos.

Meanwhile, a group of activists, spearheaded by Arizona Democratic Party Vice-Chair Missa Foy-Jentolf, has created a working group known as Northeast Arizona Democrats. The Apache County Democratic Party has a new board made up entirely of Native Americans. In September, the group sponsored an Indigenous Peoples’ Precinct Committee Training Event at Twin Arrows. The event received great reviews from the three County Recorders who attended as well as from participants.

From Coconino County, Chair Shannah Redmon and activists Shaya Chino, Donna Hanley, Don Howard, Charlene Nez, and Deydrek Scott have been instrumental in increasing activity in the Coconino part of the Navajo reservation. Since last summer, our County Party has funded a Tuba City organizer who has increased activity in that area, including weekly contacts at the flea market and institution of monthly meetings of Tuba City Democrats. We also have a Tuba City Dems Facebook Page! We’re are delighted in the greater participation in the precincts between Flagstaff and Tuba City, including the potential for a County Supervisor candidate, Judy Begay. (Judy’s primary opponent in the District 4 race is Bryan Bates — the two have met and share many goals.)

By Spring, we will have an additional organizer in the north part of our county near Page and an office in Tuba City, funded in large part by the Daily Kos fundraising. The DNC Organizing team will put other organizers in the other counties. One of our priorities is to see that there is not just one “Native American organizer” working out of Phoenix. That’s a waste – we need people on the ground and it looks like we’ve been listened to.

Thanks in no small part to Missa, Shannah, and Eric, the Arizona Democratic Party has awakened to the potential of the Navajo vote. ADP is funding a special Dine Voter Registration Rally on February 8 at Twin Arrows Conference Center that is expected to draw people from Navajo and Apache counties as well as Coconino.

There is much work still to be done, but we’ve achieved a great deal on the road to more activism on the Navajo Nation, which should translate to greater voter turnout.

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