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15 Native Americans advance to Montana general election

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 6/4/20

According to Montana Pubic Radio, 15 Native Americans have advanced past the June 2 Montana primary election, competing this fall in the general election. That includes a candidate for the statewide position of state auditor—if elected Shane Morigeau, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and a democrat, will be the first Native American to hold a statewide office since Denise Juneau served as superintendent of public instruction in 2017. MTPR adds “Mark Trahant from Indian Country Today points out that Montana is one of the few states whose public officials consistently have racial parity,” despite an overwhelmingly white citizenship. “You have to put it in context, and that’s that Montana leads the nation. It really has been a remarkable story about how well Native Americans have participated in public elections. And it’s been a case of every year building on the previous year and learning from it and taking more opportunities,” Trahant told MTPR. Such a statement is a feather in Montana’s cap as the U.S. is pitted in conflict over racial equality; in 2019, 7.3 percent of Montana’s Legislature was Native American, a representation higher than the proportion of Montanans of Native American decent (6.7 percent).

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