History of Native Voter Suppression


Let's jump right in and talk a little about the history of the native vote and the history of the suppression of the. Native. Vote. I got to tell you that when trump I got elected I felt. Like. Sick to my stomach I. And I. Spent a good amount of time reflecting on my own personal behavior like thinking to myself did I to enough to. Try to make this, not happen. And and the answer is you know I don't often talk about national politics both through project to on my blog personally, you know because I fi-, I find it incredibly problematic and uncomfortable to talk about because you know we're living in colonial state and the federal government has actively tried to eradicate us, and there's a long history of broken promises and broken treaties. Therefore, it feels very uncomfortable to say to my fellow native people you know. Go vote in the system that's not meant for us that doesn't actually ever do the things that it's said it's going to do but go vote. anyways you know. It feels I, feel like a hypocrite just saying it. Yeah I really feel like we need to talk about it. Right Yeah it is by no means a simple decision for folks in Indian country and I think that's really important to acknowledge and to think about as we. Start to talk about this election and what we need to do. Right and you know there has been a long history of active native vote suppression for the first one, hundred and fifty years. In this country, we weren't even allowed to vote, and then in nineteen twenty four can the Indian Citizenship Act which formally US citizens but states continued to prevent us from voting, right? I. Think Sometimes, there's memes and stuff that gets posted where it's like going through the. Different marginalized groups, and when they finally got the right to vote, and it often says like native Americans nineteen, twenty four. But we know for a fact that that's not true. Because, as you said, most states still had things in place to prevent needed from voting like it wasn't until nineteen forty eight that natives in Arizona got the right to vote and then all of that. Suppression that played into the passage of the voting. Rights, act. So in Nineteen, seventy, five. So the things like literacy tests or poll taxes or all of these suppression techniques that affected other communities of Color Also affected a native folks as well. There's all of these appalling facts that have led to all of these underlying issues and voting cases as to why are people have not shown up to the polls in the same numbers you know I I often get asked. Like whoa when I tell when I'm having this conversations with non native people and say, yeah, like a lot of not a native people that I know are don't Vo are when you look at the numbers, you know you would you might think to yourself like, well, why wouldn't native people be active in this process and just want to acknowledge that it? It's it's very systemic. Done on purpose. Absolutely. Yeah. So we're like giving the dates from like nineteen, twenty, four, nineteen, forty, eight, nineteen, seventy, five but like. In twenty eighteen North Dakota changed their ID laws to say that if you were voting, you had to have an idea that had a street address on it and most native folks in North Dakota, Po Boxes, and don't have street addresses. So it was like an active step to try and suppress native in Dakota because natives have power in voting in north. Dakota and in a lot of states that have high population. So like this is an ongoing thing for native communities and then that actually that actually didn't work out well for. North. Dakota. Because all of these activists came together got really good publicity. There was a lot of grassroots organizations and then was it Ruth Buffalo ended up taking the seat. anyways. So so you know I think that's a really good demonstration of the power of the native vote especially in rural areas of Turtle Island. What I should add to this conversation. Around. You know like the the power of the native vote and the complicity of us. Even, telling each other to vote is that. You know we want to have a relationship with the people that get elected. Even. Biden beats trump's not only going to fix the dislike colonial problem. That we have. Yeah I mean it's hard because there are definitely things we can talk about that are like. Immediate. Undoing of things that the trump administration has done that have been really harmful to you need of communities, but there's also an entire list of things that are not going to happen even under a Biden Administration And there's this. Quote that I saw on the wall of the Harvard Law School Lake. Years and years ago and I think about it often in terms of these ideas of justice or like doing what's right from the federal government I will say it's problematic because it's only attributed as a quote African proverb, which obviously is a really problematic but the the Clo- is corn cannot expect justice from court composed of chickens. And I think about that in terms of. Natives asking for equal treatment or justice from the US. Colonial government is like corn expecting justice from a court may have chickens

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