Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group:

Making Lives Better for Indigenous People in Multnomah County and Beyond

by Elisha Big Back (Northern Cheyenne) and Ruth Jensen (Tlingit)

The purpose of the Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group is to advance Indigenous priorities and connect with Indigenous cultures. The Group takes collective action monthly to advocate for Indigenous issues. All Democrats and non-affiliated voters are welcome to participate in these ways:

  • Joining an Indigenous-led effort with diverse advocates and allies
  • Activating Democratic networks to advance the causes of tribal sovereignty
  • Advocating for all citizens of tribal nations, both those citizens who reside in Multnomah County and beyond
  • Raising awareness of the sovereignty all tribal nations within the United States: unrecognized, dozens of state-recognized, and the 574 that are federally-recognized

Since its inception in July 2020, this Study Group met monthly for over a year. For more than half of 2021, the monthly meetings featured local Indigenous leaders who shared their perspectives on policy and actions to be taken to advance these policies.

Elisha Big Back (Northern Cheyenne) chairs the Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group for MultDems’ Platform, Resolutions, and Legislation Committee.  She serves as the Foster Care Services Manager at the Native American Youth and Family Center, and she owns and operates Sisters Fry Bread, LLC. Her political experience ranges from helping Representative Tawna Sanchez get elected to campaigning for William Miller. She advocates on several coalitions such as Foster Homes of Healing. She has participated in lobby days at the Capitol and believes that all roads lead to policy change. With her wide and powerful network, she is bringing in new Indigenous leaders to participate in the Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group.

In 2019, MultDems adopted the Tribal Sovereignty article of the 2020 Platform which led to the inaugural meeting of the Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group on July 21 2020. On November 13, 2021, MultDems adopted the 2022 Platform with updated planks and action items for the Tribal Sovereignty Legislative Action Study Group.

All Democrats and non-affiliated voters are invited to join this Group: Indigenous people along with their allies and advocates. Please join the effort for advancing these planks and actions to uphold tribal sovereignty and make lives better for Indigenous people in Multnomah County and beyond. For more information, email .

Climate Action Team Update

by Tracy Farwell and Britton Taylor

The climate crisis is top of mind as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) comes to a close in Glasgow. A coalition of local environmental and climate groups put together their own programming to align with the UN Conference. On November 1st, the COP26 Coalition Portland called for the Oregon Treasury and PERS to divest from fossil fuels (#DivestOregon). On November 3rd, Nick Caleb from Breach Collective, identified Portland’s worst polluters and offered ideas on how to better protect the city’s residents and climate. And on November 9th the Oregon League of Conservation voters hosted a webinar with Dr. John Perona, who discussed his new climate activist’s handbook. You can find the full slate of community events at

As part of the Multdems Platform Convention on November 6th, a group of dedicated and passionate PCPs from the MultDems Climate Action Team assembled for a National Resources Protection breakout session to identify legislative actions for our counterparts in Salem. 

The team swiftly reached consensus on more than 20 LAI’s, ranging from adopting a national clean energy standard to banning new fossil fuel infrastructure to setting aside 50% of Oregon’s federal forests as a strategic carbon reserve to banning non-recyclable plastics in all food take-out and in-store dining. This achievement was even more remarkable given that many of the participants were brand new to the Climate Action Team. It’s a testament to what’s possible when Democrats work together for a cause they all believe in.

If you want to get more involved with the Climate Action Team, which seeks to educate and inform our community about the science behind climate change and how it affects our lives and economy, please contact Tracy Farwell at .

Celsi Recap – 2021

The Celsi Event held on June 26th was fun and successful. $22,000 was raised after expenses to help with 2022 races and issues. We had some great talent perform including musician Michael Allen Harrison, local comedienne Susan Rice, and Liberace tribute artist, David Saffert.

Gov. Barbara Roberts presented the Young Democrats Award to Ali Krasnow and Madison Mordaunt. The Bill & Gladys McCoy Service Award was presented to Sen. Lew Frederick by last year’s recipient, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer. County Chair Julio Castilleja presented Bobbi Yambusa with the Dick Celsi Award.

22 people attended the VIP event held just prior to the Main Event with music, guest speakers, and chatting. Those that attended also had sumptuous appetizers to snack which were delivered earlier in the day and prepared by Spin Catering. 109 ticket holders attended the Celsi Celebration which also had guest speakers, music, plus awards and comedy. Swag Bags were delivered with treats, face masks and coffee mugs for those who attended.

Thanks to all who attended and donated, including our sponsors IATSE Local 28, Betsy & Greg Hatton, LiUNA Local 737, Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Akashi Lawrence Spence, American Federation of Teachers, Lisa Morrison, Oregon Rep. Rob Nosse, NW Oregon Labor Council, and Heat & Frost Insulators Local 36.

Feel free to contact Valerie with any questions,

(503) 380-8458