January 31st, 2008
INDN list made this announcement about its work organizing Indian voters in Nevada for the recent presidential caucus.Â
“We are proud of our astounding success following a historic native outreach and organizing effort on Nevada’s Indian reservations. Â On a day of unprecedented turnout for Nevada’s early caucuses, Indians made a little history themselves. When Nevada was named an early caucus state, we knew this was our chance to give Indian Country the influence it needs to build a brighter future for the First, and all, Americans.
Our Native American Network (NAN) registered over 300 first-time voters on the remote reservations of upstate Nevada, and got over 250 American Indians to participateÂ Â in the caucuses. More importantly, we succeeded in locating 11 precincts on Indian reservations for the first time, giving American Indians direct influence over 52 delegates. At least 21 American Indians were elected as delegates, including ourÂ Â own NAN Regional Field Volunteer, Elveda Martinez, a member of the Walker RiverÂ Paiute Tribe in Nevada.
Indian Country is beginning to see the direct impact that we can have on the political process. Â Our success in Nevada holds the potential to inspire hundreds of thousands of American Indians to get involved and to elect the next President of the United States.Â NAN’s Organizers, all of whom are American Indian, were deployed in Nevada on November 1, after undergoing an intensive training in October, and were led by Nevada State Director Louis Gray, a member of the Osage Nation.
We held caucus trainings, registration drives, persuaded Parties to locate caucuses on Indian reservations, and partnered with minority groups to have their issues heard in a nationally televised debate. But what really made the difference wereÂ our efforts on Caucus Day. Â We did everything we could to make sure every registered voter made it out to caucus for his or her candidate.
We believe it’s tremendously important not only to get Indians involved in the political process out of some sort of civic responsibility, but because we must empower Indian Country and play in local, state, and national political arenas in order to makeÂ meaningful and lasting improvements in the lives of American Indians.”