Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote Strategies
Before and during elections, we work to increase the number of registered voters nationwide and encourage voter turnout. Leonard expresses his views on Indigenous voting power in this 1988 audio recording. In general, First Nations have increased their participation in electoral politics since 1988, as well as the conduct of lobbying activities and pursuit of legal remedies. In recent years, the Native Caucus meeting during the Democratic Party’s National Conventions; increased activity of broad-based organizations and coalitions, including the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund; and the Indian Trust suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior are just a few examples of increased activism on Native Americans’ part. Now as never before, Native American voters are determined that their voices be heard.
There are Indigenous issues too varied and numerous to discuss here, but all Indigenous Peoples have certain concerns in common. We urge all voters to actively support candidates who respect the sovereignty of First Nations, for example. Otherwise, we encourage voters to base their choice of elected officials on the Native and other issues of most importance in their geographic regions. But please also remember the promise—Freedom and Justice For ALL! Assaults on our freedoms and denials of justice affect all Americans. Leonard Peltier’s wrongful conviction and illegal imprisonment symbolizes:
- continuing oppression of the First Nations and those who speak out for social justice;
- official misconduct that not only adversely affects Peltier, but puts all Americans at risk; and
- a violation of the democratic principles on which our country was founded.
As the 2016 election approaches, we ask non-Indigenous and Indigenous people to vote unanimously for freedom, combine to form powerful voting blocs, and walk together in support of human rights and civil liberties. Make it be in the candidates’ best interests to address Indigenous issues, in general, and Peltier’s case, in particular. Make your vote count as never before.