Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kalyn Free - A Real Life Hero

Kalyn Free first caught my attention many years ago at the Sovereignty Symposium (an annual meeting of tribal leaders, attorneys and others interested in the promotion and support of Tribal Sovereignty). Kalyn spoke with such passion on the topic of protecting women and children from the ravages of domestic violence and I was so impressed with her talk that I went up and introduced myself and handed her one of my newly-printed business cards, mostly I was just interested in shaking this amazing advocate's hand.

Since that initial brief meeting I have been following Kalyn Free's rise in the political arena. In 2004 Kalyn ran a very exciting, although ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Congress, but from that race Kalyn saw a need for more organized support and training of Native candidates who want to run for political office. From that remarkable vision, INDN's List was born.

The Indigenous Democratic Network, INDN's List, is the only grassroots political organization devoted to recruiting and electing Native American candidates and mobilizing the Indian Vote throughout America on behalf of those candidates. Kalyn has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to recruit, train, support, promote and elect Progressive Native candidates to local, state-wide, and national offices. Owing to Kalyn's inspirational dedication, INDN's List has grown rapidly since it was launched in February 2005. In the 2006 election, 20 of INDN's List 26 candidates won their races.

But that is only the beginning....This year INDN's List will sponsor two extraordinary events: 1) the Second Campaign Boot Camp which will train future Native leaders and their staff to run successful campaigns, and 2) "Prez on the Rez" a truly historic event that will bring together all of the 2008 presidential candidates in a forum with tribal leaders to discuss issues that impact Indian Country. Both of these events will be hosted at the Resort of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in Cabazon California, August 20 - 25, 2007 with the "Prez on the Rez" forum taking place on August 23rd. Please check out INDN's List web site and also visit the site created for "Prez on the Rez." Please consider making a donation to support this important work.

Kalyn Free is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

No comments: