I don’t know if you were aware, but there’s an election coming up here in the US. Like, real soon. This is a call to remind all of you (especially the Natives) that you need to register to vote, and then turn out on November 6th and cast your ballot!
The rates of voter registration and voter turnout for Natives are dismal–and I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about that here. If you’re interested in more background, there is a (admittedly frustrating and sad) report pulled together by Demos.org that details all of the obstacles and challenges involved in increasing Native voter turnout. It’s available for download here.
This graph below gives an idea of AI/AN voting patterns compared to other ethnic groups:
I also have some Native friends who refuse to vote in US elections because they see it as voting for a foreign election. I fully support that notion of sovereignty, but the reality of our current state is that the decisions the US government makes about healthcare, housing, education, and other funding for Indian Country have direct and real effects on the ongoing well-being of our peoples. We need to have a voice in electing our National officials.
So, what are you going to do about it?
(and do it ASAP! State deadlines vary, and you don’t want to miss out! Yes, that’s an Obama site, but by all means be subversive and use it to register as a Republican–I just want Natives to vote. Seriously.)
Read up on the Native Vote at NCAI’s Native Vote 2012 website
(and watch some videos of Native celebs like Chaske Spencer telling you to vote).
Send an email to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting that Indian Heath Services (IHS) clinics be made into voter registration sites via the Daily Kos
Finally, watch this awesome video that three of my BFFs (Hillary, Yuki, and Aza) made, starring another one of my best friends from grad school, Mikaela, to support the Native Vote 2012. Featuring, of course, some awesome music by A Tribe Called Red.
Just stop and think about it for a minute. American Indians weren’t even legally US citizens until 1924. My great-grandma, born in Indian Territory (before it was Oklahoma) couldn’t have voted. My grandma just barely made the cut-off. This is not some ancient history. This is our right, and we need to assert it.
And if you need any final motivation, here’s me mailing in my voter registration–my first time voting in Massachusetts!
Have you registered? Have other resources you want to let us know about? Share in the comments!
(Thanks Yuki, Hillary, Aza, and Mikaela! Miss you guys!)