Montana Democrats Formalize Role for Indigenous Montanans in Party Rules

Chris Saeger2021

Montana Democrats Formalize Role for
Indigenous Montanans in Party Rules

State party first ever to ensure proportional representation for American Indians in official party business 

Helena, MT — The Montana Democratic Party has become the first state party in the United States to create a formal role for American Indians that is based on the tribes’ share of the population, following an unanimous vote for a rule change Friday.

Proportional representation for indigenous Montanans is another step toward making sure our communities have the representation they deserve in Helena and Washington, D.C.,” said Donavon Hawk, Treasurer of the Montana Democratic Party. “This isn’t just about having a seat at the table, it’s about delivering results that improve health care, infrastructure, and the economy for American Indian Montanans across the state.”

Under the new rule, representatives from the eight Tribal Reservations will have two delegates each to the Montana Democratic Party Platform, Rules, Officers and Special Nominating Conventions. This change empowers them to choose party leaders, candidates for special elections, and the contents of the party platform. The delegates from the Flathead tribal committee were selected earlier this week.

President Andrew Werk, Jr. of the Fort Belknap Indian Community stated, “the new rule allows Indian people to move closer towards equal representation. We are grateful to the Committee for the hard work and the effort to equalize representation within the Democratic Party”.

Here’s the full text of the new rule:

RULE 3: TRIBAL COMMITTEES

1. Democrats from each of the seven Tribal Reservations in Montana, as well as the Little Shell-Chippewa Tribe, shall be permitted to participate in the governing process of the Montana Democratic Party through participation in tribal committees, whose boundaries each are defined by the geographic borders of each reservation.

2. Each tribal committee, including the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, Rocky Boy, Blackfeet, Flathead and Little Shell-Chippewa, shall develop bylaws in accordance with the rules of the Montana Democratic Party and shall follow those bylaws in selecting the tribal committee leaders authorized herein.

3. Each Tribal Committee shall be entitled to two delegates, with one vote each, at the Montana Democratic Party Platform, Rules, Officers and Special Nominating Conventions.

4. Tribal committees may not adopt any rules or regulations that conflict with the laws of Montana, the rules of the Montana Democratic Party or the rules of the National Democratic Party.

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