Courtesy Jeff Malet,
Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, center, and Tara Houska, left, during a Keep It In The Ground Act press conference in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2015. On Tuesday, Houska was appointed to the position of Native American Advisor to Sanders.

Tara Houska, Ojibwe, Named Native American Advisor to Bernie Sanders

Simon Moya-Smith

On Tuesday, attorney and ICTMN contributing columnist Tara Houska was appointed as Native American advisor to the Bernie Sanders campaign, according to officials.

In her new role, Houska, who is Couchiching First Nation, will field press inquiries, recruit voters – particularly Native Americans – and assist with drafting Sanders’ Native American policy.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, has said he will “work with the Native American community in preserving their heritage, and their way of life” and that he will do “everything” he can to “redress [treaty violations].”

Tara Houska. Photo courtesy Josh Daniels.

In a Tweet on Tuesday, Sanders lamented that 47-percent of Native American kids live in poverty.

Houska told ICTMN she plans to thrust Native American voices and concerns to the forefront.

“I hope to elevate Native American issues at a high level,” she said. “Too much of America is unaware of the plights our communities face, and we are tired of hearing more of the same from politicians. I look forward to continued and expanded outreach in Indian country. Our voices and our votes matter.”

Houska attended the University of Minnesota with a triple major in Biology, Art History, and American Indian Studies. She holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

She has appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” “RT America,” “Native America Calling,” and local Washington, D.C., news organizations speaking on Native American plight and prosperity.

Earlier this month, Houska was hired as the National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, an environmental justice nonprofit helmed by activist and Native American leader Winona LaDuke. 

She was a law clerk for the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2011, and has been a contributing columnist of ICTMN since January 2015.

Nicole Willis of the Umatilla Tribe was also named an advisor to the campaign earlier this year.

Here is Houska on “RT America” discussing water violations:

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Melissa Jacobs
Melissa Jacobs
Submitted by Melissa Jacobs on
I'm so happy to see Bernie Sanders addressing our concerns. He has certainly picked qualified intelligent people to educate him in his campaign. Sen. Sanders has a long history of fighting for civil & women's rights. I'm praying there will finally be a real voice for us in US politics. We need to fight harder for our voices to be heard, as one person can't stop the landslide of new colonists that want to take all of our lands and inherent rights away from us.

curiousjosh's picture
Submitted by curiousjosh on
I was really happy to hear this. I was wondering has a primary candidate cared enough to have a Native American advisor before?

Rich Radley
Rich Radley
Submitted by Rich Radley on
Every President chooses a Native American Advisor starting about 1860 and Many States have advisors too, Oklahoma has the most. Whether the have any useful power or ability to get stuff done is another thing. With Bernie Sanders as President he will make sure Tara Houska, Ojibwe will get things done. She ain't going to just sit behind a desk, she will have to work!