*The below are excerpts drawn from “In Trump v. Biden, Native American voters played a crucial role. It’s time to recognize that.” by Julian Brave NoiseCat
On Election Night, CNN broadcast a table showing the results of an exit poll that broke the national electorate down into racial demographics. It read: White — 65 percent, Latino — 13 percent, Black — 12 percent, Something else — 6 percent, Asian — 3 percent. Almost immediately, that second-to-last category, “Something Else,” provoked an online uproar among the digital denizens of Indian Country.
In this grand scramble for votes in elections that are increasingly decided by razor-thin margins, Native people are almost always overlooked or forgotten.
[In 2020] Native voter turnout across the country increased significantly. Among the Navajo Nation, where more data is available, many precincts saw 40 percent to 60 percent increases in participation
Yet the prevailing electoral calculus says those votes are too few to bother putting much effort into pursuing. After all, in the 2010 census, Native Americans accounted for just 1.7 percent of the U.S. population.
But the outcome of the 2020 election proved that line of thinking wrong. In key battleground states, like Arizona, Wisconsin and North Carolina, Native voters played an important, though underappreciated, role in shaping the outcome.
Around the country, Native people seem to vote at relatively high rates. The Indigenous Futures Project — based on a survey of 6,400 Native people representing 401 tribes — found, for example, that 77 percent of respondents said they voted in the last election.
*The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Lakota People’s Law Project, and all other tribal partners in this campaign are dedicated to continuing to grow the impact of the Native Vote, not just in the Dakotas, but throughout the nation. Thank you for standing with us in 2022!