#NativeVote16 – Iron Eyes shakes up his campaign, selling more T-shirts to win

Chase Iron Eyes will send t-shirts to supporters for a $40 contribution to his campaign. (Campaign photo)



Chase Iron Eyes told the Fargo Forum that he is letting his campaign consultants go and is trying to raise enough money to keep his campaign sustainable.

“I was convinced that I needed an advisor, and these advisors brought other advisors who all cost a great deal of money,”he told the Forum. “I didn’t get into this to drag my family through the whole process to end up in debt because of outside consultants.”

Raising money is the toughest challenge for any Native American who runs for office. Most of us just don’t have the kind of network where we can call lots of people up and ask for few hundred dollars. Over and over. Yet it’s an essential task because that money is used to pay staff, develop field operations (such as registering voters and getting them to the polls) and paying for campaign advertisements. It is what is required to be competitive. (HBO’s John Oliver did a great segment on the “call center” approach to campaigns.)

And the Democratic Party is not investing its resources into the Iron Eyes campaign. He’s on his own. (This is not unusual. One candidate told me the party said raise a few hundred thousand dollars … then you will get our money.) It’s that crazy circle: If you need the money, you won’t see it; but if you don’t need the money, it will be there. (Previous: The hidden history of why Native Americans lose elections)

Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is running against incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer.

Cramer has raised $1.06 million compared to Iron Eyes’ $82,137. Most of Cramer’s funding comes from Political Action Committees, some $652,000.

On his new web site, Iron Eyes said this campaign has never been about money. “Money will make you forget we are a democracy dependent upon our direct involvement in that democracy,” according to the Iron Eyes for Congress page. “Money will make ND forget there are 3000 oil spills that big oil refuses to clean up & that a Republican controlled government says there is no money to clean up.”

Screenshot 2016-08-09 11.43.32
FEC.gov campaign finance report for House candidates in North Dakota.

It’s not uncommon for a campaign to reboot (and that’s true at almost every level of politics). Iron Eyes has a new web page, https://ironeyesforcongress.us/ and is building a sort of retail approach to the campaign. (Contribute $40, send a screenshot, and you’ll get a t-shirt.)

There is also a new social media push using the hashtag #FaceTheStorm. The idea is that people will tell their own stories about why they support Iron Eyes. Iron Eyes explains the idea this way on a video: “Faced with a dangerous blizzard on the Northern Plains, when snow storms are blasting everything that lives here, the buffalo do not hide. Because they have thicker fur, a thicker head, and thick skin, the way they are designed makes it more probable for them to survive if they face the storm. That is what we must do who value people over politics. We must come together and face the storm.”

How are other the other Native American candidates for federal office doing? The latest Federal Election Commission reports show how difficult a task raising money is for new candidates on the #NativeVote16 list. (Edgar Blatchford in Alaska is not yet reporting his campaign contributions.)

Republican Representatives Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin are incumbents so money is not a problem. Cole has raised $1.44 million and Mullin $1.3 million in their bids for re-election.

But in Arizona Republican Shawn Redd has raised a little more than $23,000 for his upcoming Aug. 30 primary for an open seat in the 1st congressional district.

To the south, Democrat Victoria Steele, running in Arizona’s 2nd congressional district, has raised nearly $200,000 while her opponent, Rep. Martha McSally, has tallied more than $5 million.

That same mismatch is occurring in Washington state. Former Colville Chairman Joe Pakootas has topped $166,000 from his fundraising efforts, but trails incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers who has received contributions of more than $2.5 million.

Denise Juneau is raising serious money. Her latest campaign report shows that she trails incumbent Rep. Ryan Zinke, but not as badly. Juneau’s contributions total more than $1.1 million to Zinke’s $3.5 million.

There are better ways to elect candidates. In Canada the party funds the candidates who earn a nomination. Other countries have public financing of campaigns so that every candidate has an equal shot at winning. That’s the direction we ought to be heading. But in this election, money still counts and Native candidates will need a boost in the form of many personal contributions from across Indian Country.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

Reposting or reprinting this column? Please credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com



#NativeVote16 – What’s ahead?

IMG_0254 (1)

Transparency report

August is supposed to be a slow time in politics. Yeah, right. There is a lot going on between now and Labor Day when the political season traditionally kicks off.

I continue to be amazed by the readership for graphics. A story might earn 4 or 5,000 readers; a graphic that tells the same story has five or ten times more readers via social media. (Even these white boards get a viral audience.) So the message is clear: I need to tell more stories with graphics if I want to reach more people.

I’m thinking this week I may play around with infographics focusing on the individual #NativeVote16 candidates for Congress.

And, speaking of Congress, last week I posted a story about the number of primaries that involve #NativeVote16 candidates in August. One I missed was the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. Alaska’s primary is Aug. 16 and Edgar Blatchford is facing two other Democrats.


One fascinating issue is the debate about buffalo (ok, bison, what ever) in Montana. I have some reporting to do — and I am Montana-bound now.

The data beat. I recently read a draft from a group that’s publishing a story on Native American voting history. The turnout numbers, at least to me, seem too low. So I am thinking, “what if I can create a spreadsheet that establishes a baseline for voter registration and turnout?” I am sure it’s a lot of work, but it could be useful as something that would provide both a snapshot and something to measure against in future elections. (I have been working on the national candidate list for months and every time I publish it, I get new names, so I know this one will be difficult.)

I have two essay ideas on my list. I may not get to them, but they are worth mentioning. The first is I want to write about complexity. We don’t get everything we want in a candidate, so how do we reach a conclusion about voting, the best choice, and how to push beyond election day? I’m also intrigued by the narrative from both the left and the right about “rigged” elections. U.S. elections are rigged, but not in the way that people are talking about. We have systemic issues that should be addressed. I wrote about this in May. How does a country deal with a rigged election?

Thanks for reading, sharing, and your interest in #NativeVote16. I’m always eager for your ideas, corrections and comments. –Mark Trahant

Last week’s idea list:




#NativeVote16 – Raising enough money to win seats in state legislatures

North Carolina Senate candidate Laurel Deegan-Fricke is running in the capital city of Raleigh. (Campaign photo)


Mark Trahant / TrahantReports

There is a hundred dollars-a-plate fundraiser planned on August 21 for Laurel Deegan-Fricke. She’s a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation and running in a highly competitive seat in Raleigh, North Carolina. Two years ago that race was decided by less than a thousand votes out of some 82,000 cast.

If you missed the fundraiser. Don’t worry. It won’t be Deegan-Fricke’s last. The “cost” of a Senate seat in North Carolina averages $173,576, according to The National Institute on Money in State Politics. So if you’re not doing the math that means some 1,735 dinners. Then again Raleigh is not average. Four years ago, according to Open Secrets, candidates spent nearly $600,000 trying to win that Senate seat. Two years ago the winning candidate spent $470,000 and the losing candidate a whopping $1.1 million.

How much time do you have to spend raising money? “All day and night with less than 100 days to election,” answers Deegan-Fricke. She says she needs $500,000 to stay competitive.

This seat in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the most expensive district on my spreadsheet of Native American candidates for legislatures.

Yet the issue of money is one reason why there are not more Native Americans serving in Congress, state legislatures and as  governors. Of course the problem is that any “outside” candidate has an uphill climb in this aspect of representation.  The fact is the system greatly favors those who are already in office. And money is one way to scare away potential challengers. In 2014 nearly a third of all Americans lived in states with an uncontested state senate race and more than forty percent in states with uncontested house races. (Previous: Hidden history of why Native Americans lose elections and what to do about it.)

There are solutions. One alternative is a system that includes full or partial public financing for campaigns. In an ideal setting, once a candidate meets the requirements to run, such as gathering signatures, and raising a limited amount, then state dollars are made available. A second system that’s used in many countries is that the political party funds its candidates. (In the U.S. it’s the opposite: You’re told by the party that you will have to raise “X” dollars before you will get funding. And usually the “X” is a big number.)


Wenona Benally, candidate for Arizona House of Representatives in District 7. (Campaign photo)

Arizona and Minnesota both have public financing options. According to the National Conference of State Legislators,  “a candidate for state office in Arizona must raise $5 contributions from at least 200 people in order to qualify for the program. In return, the state provides the candidate with public money in an amount equal to the expenditure limit.” States cannot require candidates to participate in public financing and that limits the program’s effectiveness because some candidates can raise unlimited amounts. I should also mention that some of the most interesting experiments right now are occurring at the local level, such as Seattle’s new approach where voters are given vouchers to send to candidates.

Wenona Benally, Navajo, who’s running for the Arizona House in District 7, said, “qualifying as a ‘clean elections’ candidate and receiving public funds helps tremendously with paying for campaign activities. However, the process for qualifying as a CCEC candidate is very time-consuming & arduous.” She said the Secretary of State reviews every donor and if it cannot verify all of the data, then the form gets kicked out.

Rep. Peggy Flanagan represents St. Louis Park and District 46. (Campaign photo)

Minnesota candidates for the Senate must raise $3,000 and House candidates $1,500 in order to receive public funds for their campaign. Rep. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Ojibwe, representing St. Louis Park and District 46, said she will receive $7,451 from public campaign financing. “I raised $50,000 for my race last year and I am trying to do the same this year,” she said. “I want to run a robust field campaign, but also want to make sure I can give money back to the party to take back the House.”

Successful fundraising is essential in any campaign.

As Rep. Flangan said: “I also think it’s important that candidates of color and Indigenous candidates are good fundraisers to demonstrate our power to folks in our caucus and in the state overall.”

Indeed that might be the most important point to remember. Yes, the challenges of fundraising are real, and a barrier to office for too many potential candidates. But if you look at the overall levels of representation, then state legislatures are where Native American candidates have been the most successful. So candidates are already raising what they need. That matters because it lays the groundwork for when more of those candidates choose to run for Congress. And “when” is the right word.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

Reposting or reprinting this column? Please credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com


Spreadsheets& data here. 

#NativeVote16 – Court sides with Native voters in ND; voting restrictions lifted

There are three Native American candidates running statewide in North Dakota. Chase Iron Eyes, who’s running for the state’s only congressional seat; Ruth Buffalo is running for the post of Insurance Commissioner; and ,Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun is seeking a seat on the three-member Public Services Commission. (Photo via Vote Ruth Buffalo Facebook page.)



A friend writes: “Having Indian candidates for office is certainly a big plus, but their chances of getting elected is certainly reduced by these voter ID laws, in North Dakota, Arizona and Alaska.”

And those are not the only states. Indeed across the country Republican legislatures have used a variety of measures to try and shrink the number of voters, making it harder for people to exercise their right to vote. Native Americans are particularly at risk for a variety of reasons.

Monday a federal court agreed and said Native American voters were being singled out by a North Dakota voter identification law. A little background: North Dakota is the only state that does not have voter registration. From the state: “You may simply bring acceptable proof of ID and residency to the polls in order to vote.” Last year the Legislature enacted strict ID requirements that, among other things, made several forms of ID unacceptable (especially tribal IDs and university IDs).

U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland said North Dakota has no history of voter fraud. However he wrote: “The undisputed evidence before the court reveals that Native Americans face substantial and disproportionate burdens in obtaining each form of ID deemed acceptable under the new law.” There is also “undisputed evidence that more than 3,800 Native Americans may likely be denied the right to vote in the upcoming general election in November 2016 absent injunctive relief.”

There are a record number of Native American candidates running in North Dakota this year. There are three statewide candidates, Chase Iron Eyes, who’s running for the state’s only congressional seat, plus Ruth Buffalo is running for the post of Insurance Commissioner and Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun is seeking a seat on the three-member Public Services Commission.

Ruth Buffalo posted on Facebook: “Many Thanks to those who took courage and stood up, for ALL of us. Macigiraac!”

“Congrats to the Natives who get to Vote this year!” Chase Iron Eyes posted on Facebook. Iron Eyes said that Native Americans were targeted by right-wing politicians. “I am here to call out these extreme measures to suppress the Native Vote. People, don’t be afraid to call it like it is. Only stabile homeowners are sure to have an accurate physical address on their ID like the new law required, Indians only have PO Boxes on the Rez.”

Judge Hovland reached the same conclusion. He wrote: “One reason is that many Native Americans do not have residential addresses, and the Post Office delivers their mail to a post office box.”

Just this week courts have overruled voter restrictions in Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana.

But in Wisconsin the courts did not go far enough. “We have taken several steps backward on opening up the process to inclusiveness,” said Paul DeMain, publisher of News From Indian Country. “After a decade of getting Indian Country involved, registered and going to the polls we have faced a series of setback with the Republican controlled Senate, Assembly and Governor passing restrictive voting laws requiring photo ID’s with elements not provided on tribal identification, restricting early voting days, hours and the ability of independent groups to conduct voter registration. Several parts of the law have been struck down in recent days, based upon the ruling of federal judges that the laws were based less on voting integrity then they were on limiting the voting abilities of Milwaukee’s black community.”

DeMain said the court’s ruling only “struck down a limitation on the ability of local clerks to allow early voting on weekends and after hours.”

Writing in The New York Times, law professor Richard L. Hasen, said the Republican legislatures have overplayed their hand and the tide against voting rights could be turning. “The struggle is not over,” Hasen wrote, “but this wave of court decisions means that more eligible voters should get a chance to register to vote and cast a ballot in November. These votes will help elect a president whose choices for judges and justices will very likely seal the fate of voting rights (and much more) for a generation.”






#NativeVote16 – What’s at stake for Indian Country in this election (graphic)

#NativeVote16 – Candidate notes from the July campaign (and powwow) trail

Denise Juneau at Arlee Celebration. (Trahant photo)


Fourth of July weekend is a nonstop race for candidates. There are 125 days left until Election Day.

In Montana Denise Juneau took time to march in parades across the state and join Grand Entry at the annual Arlee Celebration. She Tweeted: “Today, picked up a new shawl at the Arlee powwow and participated in grand entry. What a great event!” Juneau spoke briefly, urging everyone there to register and to vote.

Chase Iron Eyes on the holiday float. (Facebook photo from Iron Eyes campaign.)

Next door in North Dakota, Chase Iron Eyes wrote about an unusual election year conflict. “So the float I was on this morning was registered by my friend Ruth Buffalo, she’s also running for Insurance Commissioner. Unbeknownst to Ruth, Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun (PSC Candidate) & myself the family member has a personal c0nnection” to the Republican candidate for Governor, Doug Burgum, and “he was adamant about his 2 Burgum signs.”

“We knew there’d be fallout but at that point we just went through with the parade because it’s People over Politics & it wasn’t our equipment,” Iron Eyes wrote.  “This is the only kind of thing out opponents have is distraction.”


New citizens on the Fourth of July. (Facebook photo from Steele campaign.)

In Arizona, Victoria Steele’s Fourth of July included a swearing-in ceremony in Tucson. She wrote on Facebook: “Today’s new citizen was yesterday’s immigrant. They will do what new immigrants have always done in our history — make us stronger through diversity and hard work. July 4th Naturalization Service with 20 new citizens being sworn in before a standing room only crowd.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, wrote about the holiday and its meaning to him. “For 240 years, the ideal of liberty has been engrained in America’s foundation,” he wrote. “It is incredible to realize that what our Founding Fathers established was a government designed to uphold its purpose for years beyond measure. What they valued then, still holds value today. For generations, America will remain the embodiment of free society. Every Independence Day, we will remember these ideals of freedom, and honor those who fight to preserve them.”





#NativeVote16 – Alaska Native success story is an innovation for the states

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin last week signed S.20 into law, the fourth state in the nation to allow dental therapists to provide dental care. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium began dental health therapy in 2004. (Photo from Vermont Public Interest Research Group or VPIRG.)


Just one example of innovation from the Native health system

Mark Trahant / TrahantReports

In the news business, this would be a man bites dog story. That’s the idea that a narrative framework is the opposite of what’s supposed to be. The usual story is that Indian health programs are a disaster and only getting worse. But in the real world if you want to find innovation, efficiency, and ideas that must be borrowed by state governments, then explore some of the many successes found in the Indian health system.

Of course that’s not what we are reading about lately. Most of the news stories about Native health focus on the serious problems in the Great Plains. That indeed is a crisis — and one worth fixing.

But at the same time there are other parts of the Indian health system that are unbelievable success stories.

Consider the data: Just before the Indian Health Care Improvement Act was signed into law in 1976 the average age at death for American Indians and Alaska Natives was 48.3 years. The age at death for White people was 72.3 years. And today? That 20-plus-year difference has been reduced to a gap of less than five years. Today the life expectancy at birth for American Indians and Alaska Natives is 72.3 years, compared to 76.9 for all races.

And that steady progress, imperfect as it is, has been made without the same resources as the general population. Doing more with less is part of the operating framework at tribal health facilities, nonprofits that operate health clinics for a Native community, and, even for the federal Indian Health Service.

The story that still needs to be told is that the U.S. medical system could learn a lot from the Indian health system. The U.S. system is the most expensive in the world, by far, while the Indian health system operates at levels comparable to what other nations spend on health care. Could Indian health use more resources? Absolutely. That’s the frustrating part of the narrative; it’s the option that Congress never seems to consider. (Previous: Paul Ryan’s call for Indian health ‘choices’ would be a disaster.)

So with that context let’s celebrate a success story with roots from the Alaska Native medical experience.

Last week Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a bill that licenses dental therapy in Vermont. Therapists are midlevel providers who will provide dental procedures such as fillings and simple extractions. “This is important because there’s a direct connection between oral health and overall health,” the governor said. “Having dental therapists available to work with dentists and hygienists will make it easier for Vermonters to get the care they need, closer to home and no matter what type of insurance they have.”

More than a decade ago the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium experimented with a program to train midlevel oral health providers. It was a community-based program to serve a need because too few dentists were practicing in remote Alaska Native villages.

Almost immediately this was an “aha!” moment as other communities saw this as a smart way to expand dental access. Dental therapy students were hired and trained right out of high school and then were put right to work.

But the innovation was followed by a fight. The American Dental Association sued trying to stop this program, saying that the midlevel providers were practicing dentistry without a license. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium fought back and won, using the Indian Self-Determination Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to trump the state’s licensing regulations.

The data today is clear. The program has been spectacularly successful providing routine dental care to some 40,000 patients every year. As the Pew Charitable Trusts wrote: “Evidence is growing that expanding the dental team to include midlevel providers, often called dental therapists, helps dentists build their businesses while increasing access to high-quality, cost-effective care. A 2014 report from the Minnesota Board of Dentistry and Department of Health evaluated the impact of these providers and found that they expand access to care for vulnerable populations and improve the efficiency of clinics and dental offices.”

Across the country, both in Indian Country, and now in states, the idea of a midlevel dental practice is expanding.

Last summer at the National Congress of American Indians, Brian Cladosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and president of NCAI, said the tribe would expand dental health therapy using its own sovereign regulatory structure. In recent months tribes in Oregon began their own pilot program to train dental therapists.

This innovation is the future. It expands dental care as well as opportunity for young people who want a career in dental health. It’s important to tell the story and its roots with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once called states “the laboratories of democracy.” Tribes, and intertribal organizations, then, might be first test labs.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

Reposting or reprinting this column? Please credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com


#NativeVote16 – Only three vote margin and too few signatures to run


Glacier County Commissioner Michael DesRosier (Photo via Facebook)

Counting every vote (again)


Every election there is new evidence that, yes, your vote does count. (This week, for example, there has been stories from voters who voted for the United Kingdom to leave Europe only because they thought their vote did not count. Whoops.)

Now a race in  Blackfeet Country is being contested over three votes.

On the night of Montana’s primary election, Glacier County Commissioner Michael DeRosier appeared to have been defeated in the primary by challenger Jamie Evans by 42 votes.

But about a week later, after 131 provisional ballots were counted, the lead changed and DeRosier appeared to have won. On Wednesday the County Commission (absent DeRosier) will witness a recount tally to see if DeRosier’s three-vote lead continues to hold. Stay tuned. — Mark Trahant

Candace Begody-Begay fails to reach ballot

Former Navajo Times editor Candace Begody-Begay failed to quality for the November ballot for the Arizona state Senate. According to The Arizona Republic: “Not only were 59 percent of her signatures invalid, she failed to appear at a Friday court hearing despite assurances to state officials that she would be there.” The newspaper said under Arizona law she cannot run as a write-in because of a “sore loser” law.

Her husband, Carlyle Begay, remains a candidate for Congress in the Republican primary. Two other Navajo candidates, Shawn Redd, also a Republican, and Kayto Sullivan, a Democrat, are seeking that congressional seat.

Begody-Begay’s problem collecting signatures highlights the very problem for any Navajo running in a Republican primary. Even with support from Navajo voters, few of those voters are registered as Republicans or as unaffiliated voters. (Previous: Can one family build a Navajo Republican party?) Begody-Begay told the Navajo Times that she could not attend the court hearing because of a family emergency. “It’s safe to say there will be very little change in our district,” she told the Times. “The voters are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences.”

Then again it’s hard to blame someone else for the requirements of actually running a campaign, such as gathering signatures, raising money, and doing what’s necessary to be a competitive candidate. — Mark Trahant





#NativeVote16 – It’s back to the polls in six states

Mark Trahant / TrahantReports

Voters will be going to the polls today in California, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and New Jersey.

Most of the attention remains focused on the presidential nomination.

Last night I was struck by the intensity of comments on my Twitter feed. #FeelTheBern is hot. Folks are mad at Hillary Clinton. The Associated Press. NBC. And, any other news organization that posts “Presumptive Nominee” in a story or video slide.

Fact is “presumptive” nominee does not mean a thing. It’s just a count of the pledged delegates and the promises made by super delegates. And, yes, it disses the people voting today but that’s pretty much true every four years in June.

We need to keep in mind that the primary process raises legitimate questions about what works — and what does not work. The process is not fair and not particularly Democratic. (I have written several pieces about election reform, latest is the screwy primary process is almost over.) The answer is to make election reform your passion. Not just the primary. But the election systems itself. There are many interesting experiments that are worth pushing forward to the next step. Politics is not just about candidates; it’s about ideas. The idea that every citizen should have a say in how we are governed is a universal and fundamental right that needs to be refreshed.

Enough soapbox. Let’s look at today’s #NativeVote16 races.

Montana. I posted this yesterday. The Montana Dozen.

North Dakota. Presidential caucuses are being held across the state. On June 14 there will be a primary election for other offices. There are three Native American candidates running for statewide office and at least three more running for legislative seats.  I’ll post next week more about that. Previous: Native North Dakota.

South Dakota. Voters today will choose legislative candidates, county commissions, and other offices. There are at least four Native American candidates on the ballot.

California. The U.S. Senate race is particularly interesting. Remember, California uses a top-two primary system, so the candidates who win first and second move on to the November ballot. Andrew Maisiel Sr. is running for state Assembly.

New Mexico. TV station KRQE made the point that the state’s primary is usually too late to matter for the presidential nomination. “But, recent visits from Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton indicate that New Mexicans’ votes could really matter.” Two Native candidates are competing for the District 22 seat, New Mexico state Sen. Benny Shendo and former Rep. Sandra Jeff. Shendo is Jemez Pueblo and Jeff is Navajo. There is no Republican on the ballot in November, so the winner of the primary will likely win the seat as well.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

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Please credit: Mark Trahant / Trahantreports.com