GRANT #330:

Standing Rock Will Vote

01/22/2019
You Know Voter Suppression Is Bad When The Descendants Of The People Who Were Here First Aren’t Allowed To Vote.

If white people in the USA can ever have the courage to tell themselves the truth, they will admit that we live on land taken by force from indigenous people. So it’s outrageous that some Native Americans who live on reservations were being denied the right to vote – wait for it – because they don’t have legit addresses. Their reservations don’t have traditional street addresses. Their mail is delivered to P.O. boxes and on many tribal lands there’s never, ever been an attempt to assign street addresses. (EVER.)

So we’re helping the Native American people of Four Directions, who believe voting is “within the sacred circle to preserve our way of life,” who are working to make sure that Native Americans have the right to vote. This grant comes as the nation remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his historic calling-out of white people who weren’t — aren’t — doing enough to bring equality and justice and dignity to all.

As we’ve seen, just having the right to vote isn’t always enough. That right must be protected, because new regulations are constantly emerging to threaten access to the ballot. People need to learn how to use their votes effectively to get what they want, and getting involved in the political process is key. So Four Directions works in voter registration, vote protection, voter empowerment, and citizen engagement.

Four Directions used this Awesome Without Borders grant for outreach to increase the representation of all Tribal voters, which includes everyone 18 and older, helping them to overcome all the barriers that make it difficult for them to exercise their right to vote. And it worked: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reported 96.8% voter turnout; the largest turnout as a percentage of total voters in history. Next time you see Native Americans carrying protest signs demanding protection of voting rights, the signs might have been made with markers and poster board they bought with this Awesome Without Borders grant.

Follow along with Four Directions’ work at their website, on Facebook and on Twitter.