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Why Alaska Natives and Native Americans will Turn-Out- To- Vote 2014 and 2016

Native Vote
Native Vote
www.nativevote.org

Why Alaska Natives and Native Americans will Turn-Out- To- Vote 2014 and 2016
By
Terrance H. Booth, Sr. – Nishwilgun Tsimshian
Republican Sequestration has done damage to all tribal programs with great budgetary reductions and has a distressing impacted many Alaska Native and Native American programs that serve youth, children, Elderly, housing, cultural education, education, Head Start, Nutritional Programs, tribal law enforcement, social service and several other tribal programs. This is the main reason why the Alaska Native and Native American Voters will turn-out in record number this year and 2016 for the presidential election.
Native Vote is busy organizing to register more Alaska Native and Native American Voters to create record numbers of new Native Voting all across Indian Country, USA for this year’s voting and for 2016 for the presidential election. [1] By the way for those attempting to disenfranchise our votes we have lawyers standing by and Native Vote has posted toll free telephone number if there is any activity trying to discourage voting or block voting.
2012 was a Native Awaking of the power of the voting across Indian Country, USA. In 2011 Mike Raccoon Eyes said, “When we as a Political and Spiritual Native peoples stand up for what you believe is right, you must have the spiritual courage to acknowledge your actions and face the consequences. With spiritual courage, Native people can win political battles for their communities, but it takes a spiritual will to win the war. It is the both the political and spiritual moral and values of the Native community that gives us the confidence to overcome the barriers for more Human and Civil Rights for Indian Country. We must politically and spiritually strive to serve Indian Country. It will increase our bonds with our People and move us forth as individuals, and challenge us to reach higher standards that will help place us in step with the times.” [2] Voting has become a way of maintain who we are as Natives in Indian Country, USA even making it part of our Native traditional ways and speaking up to those desiring to be elected into political office.
In election year 2012 there were several key states with Native population including:
Key Native Vote States
Every year key Native Vote states are selected based on the population of Native Voters, positions available, and the potential impact of the vote. For the 2012 Election, the key Native Vote States were:
Alaska Arizona Colorado Florida Iowa Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Montana Nevada New Mexico North Carolina North Dakota Oklahoma Oregon South Dakota Washington Wisconsin [3]
So voting among Alaska Native and Native American voters is of importance especially when the US Senate has confirmation hearings on political appointees this for the Natives; now have a political forum to pressure the US Senate on these political appointees.
Why is Native Vote important? In every election, Native Vote is important. American Indians/Alaska Natives make up 1.7% of the United States population. That is 5,220,579 people. The Native Vote has the power to make or break an election. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) knows better than anyone the influence of Our Native Vote.

During the primaries for the 2010 election, incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) lost her position; she was out of the race. It was during this time that the state and the country saw the importance of Native Vote, stating during the 2011 State of Indian Nations speech that it “encourages Native people to take control of their destiny…and it does provide a strong incentive for candidates at every level to take the concerns of their native constituents seriously.” Because of the effort of Alaska Natives, Lisa Murkowski, ran on a write in campaign to successfully regain her Senate seat. Murkowski continued by saying “If you ever wander about the success of a program. If you ever wonder if Native Vote works look no further than Alaska and the Lisa Murkowski write in campaign. I will tell each and every one of you that my success in running this historic making write in campaign would not have been possible, it would not have been possible (emphasis added), if Alaska’s Native people did not turn out at the poles, did not energize, did not come together as they did. And I deeply, deeply appreciate the trust that Alaska Native peoples have placed on me.” [4]
Democrats and their relationship with Alaska Natives and Native Americans: “Democrats are proud to have members of the Native American community as active members of our party. We are working with American Indians and Alaska Natives to expand the roles they play in the state and national party organizations, and we fully support Native American participation in the electoral process, not just as voters but also as candidates. We are working to promote Indian Country economic growth, improve educational opportunities, ensure clean water, and cultivate tribal energy. Most important, Democrats are committed to the Native American community by taking care of those who need a helping hand and giving a voice to those who have not had representation.
Democrats stand for the issues important to American Indians. Tribal governments know what it means to meet the needs of underserved citizens and to provide care and services to those less fortunate.” [5]
This writer remembers the late US Senator Edward Kennedy coming directly to the Gila River Indian Community for Congressional Hearing on Indian Water Rights. This showed Indian Country, USA how the late Senator felt by coming directly to Indian Country to meet with Natives face-to-face. This now is a rarity when the elected come to their home turf they are confronted by protesting or hostile confrontations because the GOP has done lot of damage to not only Alaska Native and Native American but to all poor people in general. So time for a change and put people into office who will listen to the will of the people instead of listening to their donor’s agenda and not the agenda of the people that elected them.

1. http://www.nativevote.org/
2. http://goo.gl/8crOy6
3. http://goo.gl/r1aN1W
4. Ibid
5. http://www.democrats.org/people/native_americans