Christine Nobiss and S.A. Lawrence-Welch discussed issues surrounding voter engagement and what that means to People of the Global Majority. “This is another interactive episode where we want to talk to our community about experiences with political engagement and what expectations are for not only the 2020 Presidential Election, but for local and state governments. We’ll also talk about our own efforts to turn out the vote for Indigenous folx in 2020 and beyond!”
Following are the notes I took while listening to today’s episode. You can see videos of the previous episodes of SHIFT the Narrative here: https://seedingsovereignty.org/shift-the-narrative
Need Federal, legislative change.
We need to infiltrate the system that does not work well for us.
“Do you want to vote?”
They know we have power in our vote and they don’t want to see that.
Other Indigenous people pull back and don’t engage the political system.
Christine “I believe we can do both.”
We care deeply for our many friends who are going through so much on the front lines.
This incremental stuff is getting to be too much for me.
SA Lawrence-Welch. “Burn it all down” (an expression of how some people feel)
We both reside within the borders of this country but neither of us can vote here.
So many are just in survival mode. Have no energy left for politics.
This is all Native land. There is an onus on us to speak up for the land.
Incremental change is stifling
Start with dialog so we can come up with solutions.
What does voter engagement mean to the people of the world majority.
Federal, state, local engagement.
SA in Portland. Discouraging to see people punished for expressing political rights. For me it is emotional because I see people being hurt. (Portland)
Christine: I’m a huge proponent of this idea that’s been in my head for years about how we engage with this issues on the front lines (Mission statement)
Creating Radical Change
In a time of climate crisis, Seeding Sovereignty; an Indigenous womxn-led collective, works on behalf of our global community to shift social and environmental paradigms by dismantling colonial institutions and replacing them with Indigenous practices created in synchronicity with the land.
The land is at the center of every issue we face as Indigenous people. When we are working on environment crises, when we are looking about funding for healthcare, schools
Protection and land management is the deeply rooted ancestral ties to make these changes across the board if we understand the land we are on, appreciated there have been generations and eons of work that build beautiful communities.
We have already faced our apocalypse. So have Black people. We faced so much worse in the past.
Authority Native people have from the land. We can teach.
It hurts my heart that we are navigating political choices while in the midst of a pandemic.
Vote by mail
People repressed by restrictions.
Indigenous turnout has been low. Some say 35% not registered-Christine thinks more than that
Why low turnout?
Don’t trust the system, disenfranchisement,
Native people didn’t become citizens in 1924
Civil rights movement and Red power movement in 1960’s
Late to get to the point where we can begin to influence for our OWN good
Our people are much more vulnerable related to COVID-19
Highest rates of diabetes in the world
Vote by mail is a necessity for us
Many Indigenous don’t use postal mail system or have addresses.
Money for gas, time off work. 26.6% poverty rate
Housing crisis. Overcrowding. Multiple generations per home.
Not having “static” address
A lot of movement within the communities is cultural
“Red lining” requiring static address for mail/ballot
How to understand why a PO Box is not acceptable
In person registration vs not in person—have to match signature
Voting by mail is not easy under any circumstances
Some states all mail in vote Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Hawaii
Some other states require a reason why can’t vote in person
In other states people can request mail in ballot without needing an excuse.
Polling stations on reservations.
Great distances to travel to polling places currently
Disenfranchised/poverty affect all this
What organization on forefront of Indigenous voting?
Unify people, show we have numbers
About 5 million identifying native folks
In Census must say Indigenous only. Otherwise default to white or black
Native vote 2020 4 Directions
To overcome mail in problems: Not easy
Need tribes and intercity community centers to provide address and accept ballots
Number 1 thing to get people out to vote are relatives)
T shirts, etc to encourage voting. Community of people support same things.
Being a person in your community who advocates for local issues. E.g. NoKXL.
Need candidates that advocate for US.
Remember-also voting for local
”I don’t think anyone throws away their vote.” SA
Tribes should have representatives in Congress.
New Project August 1, 2020 RadicalizeTheVote.org
“Radicalize the vote.” Accessible way for people to register to vote. SHIFT the Narrative.
We’re here and this is what we want. We are stewards of the land.
City hall, PTA
Elders among most disenfranchised. English. Digital divide. Need to empower and lift up our elders. Help them figure these things out.
We should be unifying for real change. Will affect future generations
Curb side voting
NARF Native American Rights Fund
Need national resources for voting
Continue SHIFT the Narrative, SHIFT the Youth, SHIFT Plus
Scary times for us if let things continue the way they are going
Millennials soon to be largest demographic. IMPORTANT to get into voting.
Take energy and passion from being on the front lines to get out the vote. GOTV