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 .