Monday, November 09, 2020

Allie Young and The Navajo Nation Turned Arizona Blue

For only the second time in the last 70 years, Arizona will more than likely turn Blue when all the votes are counted, but who do you think prompted that switch? Women? People of color?

Both, actually; it was Native Americans led by a woman who made history in Arizona. The Navajo Nation covers three counties in the state—Apache, Navajo and Coconino—and all three went solidly for Joe Biden; in fact, while 51%of the state voted Biden, 97% if the Navajo voted for Joe.

How does that happen? Especially given that there few available polling stations for Navajo voters, that many Native People have limited access to transportation.

Native American communities have long faced barriers in the voting process; they weren’t given voting rights in every state until 1962 and have had problems ever since. In the 2018 midterm elections, many tribal ID cards were deemed invalid because they don’t have an actual street address at which to receive voting information. There is limited access to voter registration offices, polling stations, transportation and, in the age of _____, excessive mail delays, that make voting nearly impossible for Native Americans.

But one Navajo voter, Allie Young, wasn’t going to let any of that stop her. She created the ‘Ride to the Poll’ movement, hoping to empower Native American youth to vote and reconnect them with their cultural heritage by taking a small group of Navajo voters by horseback to the polling station for early voting. Better still, they were met by an even larger crowd of Native American people who, after learning of Young’s movement, took to horseback to cast their ballots, too.

Young’s ‘Ride to the Polls’ movement spurred more than 67,000 eligible Navajo voters to get to the polls. Allie says she was inspired by her father, who “had a vision of us riding our horses to protect our people.” She took that sentiment and rode with it, realizing it was the perfect way to get the Navajo community excited about voting because it brought back a sense of community. The more she talked, however, the more people listened, and the bigger her tiny group grew before November 3.

‘Ride to the Polls’ left a mark on not only the Navajo, but it resonated with Native Americans across the country. Young has received countless messages from other members of tribal communities who were inspired by her, and who also voted last week, many for the first time. And like Allie Young and her group, these other groups also arrived at the polls on horseback; Young said that was a way to pay tribute to their ancestors, adding that horses are a spiritual and sacred animal in culture.

“It’s also a reminder of what we’re fighting for: to protect not only our culture but our sacred land and Mother Earth.”

And it worked; even though Native Americans have been disenfranchised, ignored, treated inhumanely, by this country and its government, for decades, Native Americans decided this was the time to vote, and take a stand, and make a difference.

And it worked.

Washington Post

11 comments:

Helen Lashbrook said...

If anything Native Americans should have priority when voting; it is shameful that, like the indigenous peoples in Australia, they are demeaned and abused by Republican legislatures.

Don't hold your breath for the Fat Old Fart to concede (FOF for short); I suspect he'd rather die

the dogs' mother said...

(Allie Young)
take care, xoxo :-)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yay, Allie Young! A true heroine! And yay for the First Nations of Arizona who made their electoral power count!

anne marie in philly said...

uncle joe and congress should make their life easier, not harder. reward them for a work well done. and give allie the congressional medal of honor!

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Yes!
This gives me hope. Marginalized and disenfranchised communities need to be empowered. Grassroots efforts saved this election.

XoXo

den81164 said...

love it

Dave R said...

That is stupendously great news.

uptonking said...

HEY... BIG TENT? I hope the Dems are taking notes. I hope that initiatives like this young woman's do not go unnoticed. We blew it in Florida with the Latino voters. Apparently, we have been missing what works in Georgia for eons. Do we get it now? America is NOT WHITE. AMERICA IS EVERYONE. I love that this happened. Lessons learned, folks. I am so excited for future elections now that we are all waking up! YAY. Thanks for sharing this. I would not have read about it otherwise (which means I must be reading all the wrong stuff).

Mistress Maddie said...

Joe needs to do something special for them. They are our citizens after all, our original citizens and land owners.

Bob said...

@Helen
Not priority, because that’s not equal, but they need the same chances, the same venues, the same abilities as all of us.

@TDM
A remarkable woman.

@Debra
We all need to thank our Native American brothers and sisters for what they did in Arizona, and what they can do going forward.

@AM
The US has been fucking Native people since we arrived, and it’s time we realize and understanbd that they are Americans, too.

@Six
We need, and we need Joe to do it, to make voting easier and more accessible for everyone in this country.

@den81164
Me, too.

@Dave
I hope the Native people see their influence and their power and what they can do with it, and keep voting.

@uptonking
Yes. YES. To everything you just said!

@MM
Joe needs to do something for all disenfranchised people in this country.

anne marie in philly said...

@uptonking - YASSSSSSSSSSS!