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North Dakota Indigenous Candidates 2022

This year, North Dakota is seeing a record number of Indigenous people running for office. What led to so many people deciding to try this challenge now? How did they get ready? What has the experience been like?

Main Street’s Alicia Hegland-Thorpe sat down with nine Indigenous candidates running for office across North Dakota. Listen to each interview below.

  • Jayme Davis is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa is running for District 9A House, She works for her tribe as the law and policy department’s administrator and policy specialist. She will soon have a Master’s degree in public affairs with a concentration in federal Indian law and Sovereignty from the University of Minnesota.
  • Melanie Moniz, a citizen of the MHA Nation, and candidate for Public Service commission Is an advocate for indigenous rights, human rights and the environment. She works for MHA nation assisting wellness and sustainability efforts in her community of Twin Buttes as well as helping to curate a tribal library.
  • Lisa Finley Deville, a candidate for senate in 2020, is now a candidate for House in District 4A, on the Fort Berthold Reservation, She is the co-creator of Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights, and a former board member of North Dakota Native Vote.
  • Ruth Buffalo is up for re-election in District 27, in Fargo. She is a mother of four, and has devoted her education and career to improving the health and lives of the people of North Dakota. She is a public health policy consultant and member of numerous boards and advisory committees promoting public health and safety. Ruth was elected in 2018.
  • Lillian Jones, a candidate for District 41 House in Fargo, is a citizen of the MHA Nation. She is an advocate for women, children and families, a former tribal court advocate and co-created a law firm in Fargo with her husband.
  • Mike Faith, of Fort Yates, is a former tribal chairman and candidate for District 31 House from Standing Rock; he brings over 20 years of experience in tribal government and nearly 30 years on the school board. He has sat on numerous boards and agencies working for farmers, and ranchers, as well as conservation efforts for wildlife and water. He ran for House in 2014.
  • Heather is a Spirit Lake Tribal citizen, also running for District 15 House. She’s a foster mom, and a breast cancer survivor. She advocates for the elderly and long-term support services as a tribal liaison for Center for Rural Health at UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
  • Spirit Lake Nation citizen Collette Brown is vying for District 15 Senate. Collette wears many hats. When she’s not lobbying for tribal gaming, she’s working to build her community through tribal tourism. She also sits as the chair of the board of regents for Cankdeska Cikana Community College.
  • Richard Marcellais, District 9, is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. HE has served seven terms so far in the senate, and is up for re-election. He’s a former Tribal Chairman for the TMBCI and a Vietnam veteran having served in the US Army. Marcellais was inducted to the 2016 ND Native American Hall of Honor. Marcellais was first elected in 2007.