Lakota people didn’t always have the right to vote in this country. Women were granted the right to vote in 1920. Our grandparents were reluctantly granted citizenship in 1924, even though our ancestors were born on Turtle Island. Citizenship in the United States guarantees us the right to vote in the wasicu elections. Indigenous people of Turtle Island have the power to elect Joe Biden, but we can’t elect him if we don’t vote.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 I will go to the election polling place in my community to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I will exercise my right to vote because I do not want the world to suffer another four years of the sitting President of the United States (POTUS).
Tribal leaders from both the Crow and Navajo Nations have gone public with their endorsement of the sitting POTUS. I have no idea why they would support him. Over the weekend, I was made aware of a tweet posted by David Flute, South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations and a citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. The tweet read “It is fantastic to see my native brothers and sisters supporting President Trump, and knowing I’m not alone. #nativesforTrump”
Obviously, Secretary Flute isn’t working for the best interests of the South Dakota tribes he is supposedly representing. He is probably one of the few tribal citizens in this state blindly following the Republican lead. Consequently, Flute and his governor have done nothing for the tribes in this state.
The sitting POTUS has also done nothing for Indian Country; in fact, he continues to display his racist, misogynist behavior in public. He has criticized medical experts regarding the corona virus pandemic. He’s acted up in front of foreign dignitaries, while praising the actions of dictators. He has accused respected journalists of writing fake news.
In addition, the sitting POTUS has destroyed sacred sites on the traditional homelands of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona. The Tohono O’odham Nation does not recognize the imaginary line – known known to many as the “border.” Tribal citizens have crossed this “border” regularly to visit relatives and attend ceremony.
However, the 62 miles of “border” on the Tohono O’odham homeland is now the construction site of a wall to satisfy the sitting POTUS mission to keep relatives – whom are Indigenous to Turtle Island – from freely traveling to visit family and attend ceremony. Consequently, both The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, as well as The American Indian Religious Freedom Act were waived by the federal government to construct the wall.
The sitting POTUS also signed the Practical Reforms and Other Goals To Reinforce the Effectiveness of Self-Governance and Self-Determination for Indian Tribes Act (PROGRESS) into law earlier this month. In addition, several regional offices were established last summer to work on cold cases regarding missing and murdered Indigenous people by the sitting POTUS.
These actions might be considered as a step forward for Indian Country. Yet, many of us have to ask why the sitting POTUS didn’t take action when he first got into office. For many of us, the sitting POTUS’ actions are just too little, too late. I see it as an election ploy to garner more Native American votes. Also, the federal stimulus payment we received came from taxpayer money. It didn’t come from the sitting POTUS personal bank account – like he would want you to believe with the letter you got weeks after your stimulus payment was likely already spent.
Please don’t believe any of the laws signed by the great orange father. He doesn’t care about Indian Country. His forked tongue continues to lie.
And don’t listen to other tribal citizens who accuse you of being colonized or assimilated because you chose to exercise your right to vote. Ignore the clamor and go vote anyway.
Our children and elders deserve better. Go to the polls tomorrow and vote against the racist misogynist who doesn’t care about Indigenous people.
Vote for Joe Biden for President.
Vi Waln can be reached through email email@example.com