OJ (Oliver) Semans is married to Barb Semans.
The Native American Rights Fund was proud to co-host the nation’s first-ever presidential forum focusing entirely on Native American issues, the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. In addition to co-hosting, NARF Executive Director John Echohawk (Pawnee) participated in the forum as a panelist.
The Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum wasbe held August 19th and 20th 2019bin Sioux City, Iowa. Over the two days, each candidate held individual appearance and responded to questions from panels of tribal leaders and Native American youth and elders. Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women was the key topic and many Native American women who are tribal and community leaders were among the panelists, including Gay Kingman, the executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association.
“This forum isn’t about ‘gotcha’ moments. It’s about ‘get it’ moments. We want candidates to grasp the challenges and aspirations of Indian Country. At the two nights of candidate debates in Miami, broadcast to a national audience, not one question or one candidate comment addressed Native American issues. Ignoring this forum in Iowa is ignoring the millions of First Americans who are citizens and voters.” said OJ Semans, co-executive director of the national Native American voting rights organization Four Directions. Inc..
The Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum — named for the late Winnebago activist — is hosted by Native American voting rights group Four Directions. Inc. and the Native Organizers Alliance.
A panel of tribal leaders, tribal citizens and Native American youth presented questions to each of the presidential candidates who appeared Monday (Aug. 19) at the two-day forum. A total of 11 candidates are expected to attend the forum at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa, either in person or via video.
OJ Semans, co-executive director of Four Directions, introduced the forum as “Indian Country 101 for America,” which included discussions of issues informed by indigenous spirituality.
Judith LeBlanc, director of the Native Organizers Alliance, referenced the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s action to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota in her opening remarks. That action was sustained by a belief in the sacredness of the land and a spiritual responsibility to protect the water that ran through it.
“We are moving on a continuum from protest to power,” LeBlanc said.
“Standing Rock interrupted the narrative, and when we left Standing Rock, we went back to our cities and our reservations to organize.”
OJ Semans - Four Directions· July 13 2019·
Rosebud Four Directions with my daughter Donna Semans far right, my wife and sole mate Barb Semans next to me and ND Senator Ruth Anna Buffalo to my right, Judith LeBlanc NOA, Libero Della Piana AJS, Monique Daily Kos.
Four Directions, Inc. leadership team, 2019.
- Donna Semans - Director of Grassroots Organization
- Oliver Semans and Barb Semans - Co-Executive Directors
- Wizipan Garriott Little Elk - Outreach Director
Native Organizers Alliance Advisory Council
- Director - Judith LeBlanc
- Bineshi Albert
- Louise Benally
- Kara Denise Brewer Boyd
- Danisha Christian
- Kathy Forliti
- Petuuche Gilbert
- Michaelynn Hawk
- Manuel F. Pino
- OJ Semans
- Marsha Whiting