The Power of the Native Vote

2014 ballot

The national mid-term elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. I want to thank all of the Lakota people who have worked tirelessly to register voters. Many used their own resources to bring you a voter registration form. They did an awesome job.

In order to be sure my vote counts, I made an effort to cast an absentee ballot earlier this month. If you live in Todd County, you can vote early at the County Building in Mission, South Dakota. The last day to vote early by casting an in-person absentee ballot is Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5pm.

I see many Native American journalists ride the fence when it comes to speaking out either in favor of or against political candidates. Yet, I believe we have too much at stake in this election for anyone to ride the fence. So let me give you a little background on Rick Weiland (Democrat), M. Michael Rounds (Republican), Gordon Howie and Larry Pressler (both Independents) who are on the Senate ballot for our state.

A Vote For Sovereignty flyer being circulated on Facebook lists how the candidates for the lone US Senate seat from South Dakota stand on land, water and health. Three examples used are (1) the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline, (2) Tribal Land Acquisition and (3) the Indian Health Care Improvement Act which is part of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

Weiland opposes the KXL pipeline. The flyer states there is no immediate information available on his stance regarding Tribal land acquisition. He supports the Affordable Care Act, which includes the Indian Health Service Improvement Act. I voted for Rick Weiland.

Rounds supports the KXL pipeline. He fought the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s attempt to prevent the transfer of federal lands along the Missouri River to the State of South Dakota. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which includes the Indian Health Service Improvement Act.

Howie supports the KXL pipeline. The flyer states there is no immediate information available on his stance regarding Tribal land acquisition. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which includes the Indian Health Service Improvement Act.

Pressler supports enhancing existing oil pipelines. He supported legislation to impose county taxes on newly acquired Indian lands and require Congressional approval to remove the land from county tax rolls. He opposed Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s land acquisition. He believes the Affordable Care Act is flawed but here to stay.

I do not support the KXL pipeline. I am in favor of any Tribe working to acquire land. And for the first time in my life, I can actually afford paying for my own health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.

You might not agree with the way your tribal, state or federal government operates. But until the Constitutions of these governing bodies are rewritten, the systems will remain in place. So get involved and be an active participant in choosing your government officials. The power of change is in your vote.

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