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DECISION 2020: Issues facing Native American voters

Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 19:09:06-05

TULSA, Okla. — 2020 will be a year full of key voting issues for Native Americans in Oklahoma.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, Oklahoma has the highest percentage of voting-age Native Americans in the entire country. About 12% of the country’s eligible Native American voters are registered here in Oklahoma.

2 Works for You reporter Tony Russell spoke with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and Brett Chapman — a local attorney and member of the Pawnee tribe about today’s election.

They both said one of the largest issues facing Natives Americans going into the polls is tribal sovereignty. That’s because the recent fallout from the McGirt Supreme Court case could face a legislative battle in Congress.

READ MORE: Supreme Court rules much of eastern Oklahoma remains tribal reservation

Coronavirus relief funding and support from our federal government is on the minds of those in tribal leadership.

Other issues Native Americans are passionate about on a state-level include the latest back and forth over tribal gaming compacts.

Chief Hoskin said the key is to get Native Americans registered and to show up to the polls.

”And you can go to the local level, you can go to the congressional level and you can see that Native Americans in Oklahoma have numbers — that if we’ll register — if we’ll go out and vote and if we’ll vote our interests, we can make a big difference in some of these races,” Hoskin said.

Brett chapman, Native American rights attorney, said,”What matters to the Lumbee in North Carolina might not be quite the same to what matters to the Navajo in Arizona, but their votes are going to matter just as much because they’re in swing states, but it’s hard to say, I think for all Native nations, I think sovereignty and federal Indian policy is going to be number one on most people’s list as far as that goes.”

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