Members of the Washington State Democratic Party delegation preparing to leave for Charlotte, North Carolina on September 1, at SeaTac International Airport for the Democratic National Convention.

Native Representation at DNC is Washington State’s Largest Ever

Richard Walker

Eight enrolled Native Americans from Washington state were in Charlotte, North Carolina as delegates to the Democratic National Convention, September 4-6.

According to Lona Wilbur, Swinomish, this was the largest-ever Native representation for Washington state at a national convention. Washington is the only state to have an enrolled Native American — Wilbur — as an elected Democratic National Committee member. In addition, delegate David Bean, a Puyallup Tribe councilman, is on the convention’s Credentials Committee; delegate Leonard Forsman, chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, is on the convention’s Platform Committee.

All told, were 120 delegates from Washington state. The other Native delegates were Teresa Taylor Oliver, Lummi; Joe McGimpsey, Makah; Elizabeth Satiacum, Quinault; Robert Satiacum, Puyallup; and Matthew Tomaskin, Yakama.

C’Ann Kariores, Colville, and Chris Roberts, Choctaw, were at-large alternates. Roberts, a Shoreline City Council member, is chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party's Native American Caucus.

The Washington State Democratic Party is the only state party organization to require elected delegates to have an enrollment number to claim Native American status, Wilbur said.

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