There’s a nationwide effort to register Native Americans for this November’s election. The biggest push is on this week, including in western Wisconsin and Milwaukee.
The National Congress of American Indians has an organization of local volunteers in what they’re calling “Native Vote Action Week”. Sault St. Marie Chippewa Lacey Kinnart is registering people at Gerald Ignace Indian Health Center on Milwaukee's south side.
“Yeah, it is very important to me," she says. "When I heard that one in three natives are only registered to vote, it kind of hit me because we are already a small population. Because this is such a huge election, we need to get our voice out there too and every vote does count.”
Kinnart says if Native people don’t vote, they won’t be heard by policy makers.
“We’re not focused on," she says. "We’re kind of like a quiet population.”
Collin Price of the Ho Chunk tribe is working to register Native voters in several western Wisconsin communities.
“Obviously I can’t be everywhere but I’d like to do as much as I can to try to get some of our youth involved to help them out with registering some people as well,” he says.
Price says “Native Vote Action Week” is made up of a few people hoping to do a lot for many people.
“Even on a national level, the Native Americans are seen as a voice to be heard," he says. "There’s a lot of input that we have. It should be taken not in a light tone because these issues and policies. A lot of them we feel strongly about and have a big voice.”
That voice can be much louder. The National Congress of American Indians says in the last presidential election, there were more than one-million unregistered voters in Indian Country.