Biden Campaign Adds Clara Pratte (Navajo) to Lead Engagement With Tribes

Clara Pratte (right), who served as the Chief of Staff for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, has been named Tribal engagement director for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

This week, the campaign of Joe Biden—the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president in the upcoming election—announced several new hires intended to further its outreach to key communities, including Indigenous, disabled, faith-based, ethnic, and military audiences. In total, the campaign plans to hire more than two dozen staffers who will be charged with connecting with voters using different identity metrics. 

Clara Pratte, who served as the Chief of Staff for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, has been named Tribal engagement director. Pratt is currently the Founder and CEO of Strongbow Strategies, and was named to Native Business Magazine’s Top 50 Entrepreneurs in 2019. She was also profiled in Native Business Magazine last year and appeared on Episode 10 of the Native Business Podcast.  

“We want to make sure we have people on the campaign that come from these different respective communities, so that our strategies for outreach are fully informed by the lived experience of those voters,” said Ashley Allison, coalitions director for the Biden campaign, as reported by ABC News

The Biden campaign’s strategy for outreach to these various communities is modeled after a similar initiative in former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, which was called “Operation Vote.” The goal is to focus on constituencies and voter groups that are often overlooked. 

On his campaign website, Biden outlines his record with Tribal communities as well as the various components of his “Commitment to Indian Country.” These include furthering Tribal self-governance and sovereignty, supporting the federal trust responsibility to Tribes, and ensuring that the federal government meet its trust and treaty obligations. He also says that he is committed to appointing Native Americans to key roles in his administration, expanding Tribal jurisdiction to help tackle the epidemic of violence against indigenous women and girls, and restoring Tribal lands. 

Pratte earned her bachelor’s degree from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona as well as a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. Before launching Strongbow Strategies in 2013, she worked in the public sector, serving as the national director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Native American Affairs.