First, thank you!
Your support over the years is what helped us deliver Blue victories in Arizona in 2020 and 2022. The Northeast Arizona Native Democrats are so grateful for your continued faith in our program. Investing in rural, tribal voters on Northeast Arizona’s sovereign lands this year furthers our mission of building Indigenous political power. These voters have shown their power to decide elections. Our work this year is steadily expanding that electorate and equipping voters to make themselves heard at the ballot box in 2024. The impact of Indigenous electoral power isn’t just winning elections: it’s delivering on the policies that create safer and healthier communities.
Help us continue the work of empowering voters by donating to the Northeast Arizona Native Democrats
Rural, tribal organizing must be fiercely local
Our work is not a simple matter of knocking doors and making phone calls. We must overcome many cycles of neglect from traditional campaigns to build trust and educate voters about both their power and the potential impact of casting their ballot. To accomplish all of this, we are strategic in our hiring: our team members work in the communities where they live. They are local experts whose knowledge can never be replicated by imported talent. Casey Lee, Lorraine Coin, Janice Ben, and Loren Marshall have been doing this work for multiple cycles and spend their time engaged in deep canvassing conversations and connecting with voters far off the beaten path. The team does this work across rural and remote Arizona, covering a turf the size of Indiana.
Our team does so much more than canvass: our recent, non-partisan fundraiser for backpacks and school supplies this month demonstrated the power of hyper-local organizing. We raised almost $14,000 for our third annual GoFundMe Direct Aid for Back-To-School supplies. With three hundred backpacks full of supplies to deliver, our organizers managed several centralized distribution events. To bring the services closer to home, they also contacted the families they stay in touch with in more remote areas to make arrangements to get their kids what they needed. Campaigns Director Loren Marshall relates that when she drove out to their homesteads, those families, in turn, connected her to families even further removed from towns and main roads.
Lydia Dosela (White Mountain Apache), a Northeast Arizona Native Democrats Board Member and resident of White Mountain Apache tribal lands, was able to reach the families most in need of back-to-school supplies in her community. She knows which families don’t have vehicles allowing her to serve families who are unable to attend centralized back-to-school events. Lydia’s depth of local knowledge expands the civic engagement conversation to those who have traditionally been beyond the reach of political work.
This capillary model pumps resources and power much further into the community than any short-term, non-local program ever could. Those relationships help our team build trust while living their Democratic values. As trusted sources of information, Lydia, Loren, and the rest of the team can have important conversations with their neighbors about their power as voters, and how they can impact their own community through the ballot box.
Remote support lends muscle to our local model
Another key takeaway about our program is how non-local resources can boost the effectiveness and reach of hyper-local organizing programs like ours. The more than 200 donors who raised the funds for the school supplies allowed our locally led efforts to succeed. This combination of authentic, local, and Native-led organizing and remote energy and resources has always been fundamental to our work.
Our local field team knows they are not alone. We have fiercely dedicated, out-of-state volunteers who lend their precious time and skills as our remote voter contact team. The postcards and calls made by these out-of-state volunteers focus on bridging voters and their local organizers across the vast territory of Northeast Arizona.
So far this year, our remote voter contact team has sent more than 70,000 postcards to voters and had hundreds of conversations on our weekly phonebank. Every card and every call provides contact information for one of our team members working in that voter’s community. Those postcards generate over 100 phone calls to our organizers a week, and the cards help voters connect with team members like Casey at flea markets, road junctions, or community hubs to update voter registration, pass along information, or connect voters to key community services, like pandemic aid and low-cost firewood. The messages in the cards and calls also recruit voters to become volunteers and invite community members to the local power-building events we are focused on in this build year.
Creating the space for vital conversations with voters about their power
These local and remote efforts have all come together over the last month as Northeast Arizona Native Democrats have transitioned to an events-based organizing model intended to build deeper connections among voters and the local party, ensuring voters’ concerns are heard before the frenzy of next year’s election season.
Indigenous Rural Action Summit
In July, we co-sponsored the first-ever Indigenous Rural Action Summit. Held in Kayenta, the Summit was cosponsored by grassroots organizations from around Arizona. Voters attended presentations on community organizing and how to impact their local community.
Even we were surprised by the warm response we got from voters we invited to attend the summit. They were almost unanimous about their interest in the event. While not all could attend, 96% of the voters to whom we spoke gave a positive response to the call and wanted the follow up materials. Only 4% said they had no interest at all - a number so small that our team has never encountered reactions like this before. Voters clearly want local power-building events focused on Indigenous communities. Our remote volunteer program played a key role in helping the summit succeed: voters received postcards and phone calls to invite them to this event.
Bringing the conversation closer to home
This month the Northeast Arizona Native Democrats hosted a first-of-its-kind event on Hopi land. The Hopi listening tour kicked off in the village of Bacavi and seeks to get community input from each of the 12 Hopi villages , which will encourage community members to join the leadership of the Democratic party and bring policy conversation closer to home. The Bacavi event was a success beyond our expectations. In a village of 200 full time residents, we had 25 attendees, all of whom wanted to know more about how to build political power on Hopi and how they can participate beyond elections.
In Bacavi, we were able to recruit more Family Votes Matriarchs, who will be the family lead in voter registration, education on the ballot, and getting family members to cast their ballots successfully. We also recruited two volunteers who are going to work with local field organizer Lorraine to register voters and speak out about the importance of voting. For many years Hopi generally refrained from participating in elections. As the beliefs around getting to the polls change, our team is ready to assist and educate their people. This event was led by Lorraine Coin and Alfred Lomahquahu, a longtime community activists and current Northeast Arizona Native Democrats board members. These two architects of the program on Hopi have shown that generosity from donors like you can be put into the field in personalized ways to create communities who vote together.
Matriarchs lead the way with relational organizing
Family matriarchs want the best for their family and community. That’s why we work to recruit as many Family Votes Matriarchs as we can. These matriarchs have the same theory of change we do: when we show up to vote we can change policy for the better that will positively impact communities today and tomorrow. We know that when Moms are leading the family to the polls, we are able to drive up turnout.
Last week in Window Rock we hosted our second Family Votes luncheon. Matriarchs from all across the Navajo Nation joined us to learn how to get their families to the polls. These family leaders were ready to take on the role of Family Votes Matriarchs. They all were trained on how to register voters and the value of voting by mail in rural and remote communities such as ours. They also got a preview of what will be on the ballot in 2024. These new Family Votes Matriarchs are already taking action to engage their communities. Our newest Family Votes Matriarchs have already scheduled four voter registration events in their own communities. These events are in Cameron, LeChee, Kayenta, and St. Michaels- all on the Navajo Nation. These volunteers are a powerful force for change. They know the families in these communities, how to reach the leaders of those families who can be helpful in getting more people to the polls.
It takes hyper-local, Native-led organizing to build an engaged electorate on Northeast Arizona sovereign lands. The challenges in this kind of outreach require early investment of time and resources, and the kind of relationships our field organizers create through their work can’t be replicated by the traditional, non-local, last-minute campaign organizing. Your support means that this work can continue to deliver crucial electoral wins for Democrats, with long-term power building at its center. Thank you for your faith in our team!