Elections do have consequences. In 2016 this country elected a new president and some new members of Congress. In my view, the consequences of that election have left not just the country, but most certainly Tribal nations and their citizens at risk. In future blogs there will be more detail, for now, however, I focus on the greatest singular act of exercising and protecting our sovereignty–voting!
Over the years I have been very active in all elections. Working with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native Vote initiative, I urged the citizens of my Tribe to be active in each election cycle. As a Tribal Leader, I absolutely understood the impact that election outcomes had for my Tribe. I also clearly recognized historically that beyond Tribal elections, that voting was not a priority. Looking through the Indigenous lens there were (and still are) many reasons why Tribal citizens are not active voters. In a future blog, I will attempt to describe those reasons–most legitimate in my view.
For now, my only emphasis is urging all the Indigenous voters in Michigan to make sure to register and then to vote on November 6th. I am doing my part in the best way I can because in 2016 I voted, but I wasn’t an activist in any sense of the word. I understood the potential consequences, especially filling the vacancies in the Supreme Court that could lead to what amounts to judicial termination. The court has not been exactly supportive of our sovereignty and the more conservative the court gets the more its decisions could effectively diminish or erase the sovereignty that we have always fought for.
There are other potentially significant administrative and legislative consequences which I also understood-but I didn’t work to encourage others to pay attention to the possibility of the political tsunami we are now experiencing. In 2018, I am going to try and do my best to communicate with as many Indigenous Michigan Voters as I can and make sure we have the biggest turnout on election day!!
I am limited this time around in what I am able to do, but I refuse to sit idle and or just complain. I need to do something; anything……so through this blog my hope is that it will reach as many Tribal citizens in Michigan as possible. This election may have the greatest potential for irreversible consequences for indigenous people that we have ever faced.
I want to hear from you and I want to hear that you are registered to vote and that you will vote on November 6th—and that you will do something (anything) to encourage everyone you know to follow your example. Together what we do on November 6th, will determine the future path for the rising generations. It simply is that important.