‘Why not me?’: the boot camp giving Indigenous women the tools to run for office
On a picturesque island just a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle, Juanita Perez described losing a recent race for a delegate seat for the Tlingit and Haida tribes:
“I didn’t have all the tools to do it the right way,” she said.
It was a recent weekend in April and the third day of an advocacy boot camp put on by the Native Action Network, a non-profit in Seattle, Washington. She was sitting in a circle of more than a dozen Native women going over the challenges of running for office as a Native woman and the political positions they were each interested in pursuing.
The event, a first for the organization, was designed to help more “Native womxn” run for office at every level.
The 20 participants from 17 different tribes had traveled to the meeting space from across Washington state and Oregon. There was a PhD student, a school district board member, a child advocate, a Native American education liaison, real estate brokers and an undergraduate student.