IGU 2022 Oct - Dec 22Edition FINAL


Message to Tribal Leaders by Ernie Stevens, Jr. Chairman

American voters delivered a split decision in the 2022 midterm elections, with Democrats retaining control of the United States Senate and Republicans taking the U.S. House of Representatives. Each will have a narrow majority in the next Session of Congress. The results of federal elections play an outsized role in the everyday lives of residents of Indian Country. Tribal governments rely on Congress to uphold solemn treaty and trust obligations and to protect tribal sovereignty and self-governance. Unless we hold Congress accountable through the power of our vote, history has shown that Congress will not only fail to uphold its obligations to Indian Country—the government will work to the great detriment of our people. The first Americans were the last to be granted voting rights. For the first 150 years of our Nation’s history, American Indians had no vote, and no say in federal policies that stole our lands authorized the forced removal of Indian children from their families and outlawed the expression of Native culture, language, and religion. It wasn’t until 1924 that Indians were granted the right to vote in federal elections. Many states continued

to deny American Indians the right for decades after 1924. Even today, Tribes must fight to fully exercise the voting rights of their community. The Native American vote is our voice and our power to ensure that policymakers are held accountable. To help energize the Native vote this past fall, the Indian Gaming Association’s “My Vote WILL Count” campaign held stops throughout Indian Country, recruiting young warriors to organize their communities. Exercising our voting rights empowers our people and honors the sacrifices of our ancestors who fought to protect tribal sovereignty and our way of life. The Native vote once again played a pivotal role in many tight races. What is even more encouraging is the growing number of Native candidates. In the 2022 elections that number grew to a record 140 indigenous candidates for federal and states offices in the general election. While not every candidate won election or reelection, Indian Country applauds their efforts to serve their communities. They elevate the visibility of all Native Americans and our issues. Indian Country will again be strongly represented in the 118th Congress. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R- OK)(Cherokee) will be the first enrolled member of a

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