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Member of Navajo Nation Announces U.S. Presidential Campaign

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Mark Charles
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A member of the Navajo Nation has announced he’s running for U.S. president joining more than two dozen other candidates. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’s one of the few times a Native American has sought the country’s highest office.

Mark Charles announced his campaign this week and is running as an independent. He says he’s not aware of any other Navajo who’s run for U.S. president.

Charles was raised in Gallup, New Mexico, and has lived in Washington, DC with his family for four years working as a public speaker and writer focusing on U-S history and social justice issues. Charles is also the former pastor at the Christian Indian Center in Denver.

He says as a presidential candidate he’ll focus on historic wrongs committed against women and people of color in the U.S.

"The United States of America needs a national dialogue on race, gender and class. Because we don’t deal with that history, because we don’t acknowledge what our foundations were. We now don’t know how solve the problems we have today," he says.

Charles will hold a campaign kickoff next month on the Navajo Nation. From there he says he’ll travel to other states with high Indigenous populations to rally support.

Charles hasn’t held elected office before and this is his first political campaign.

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Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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