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We have everything to lose this time!

This is the most important election of your life!

Every two to four years, this is something we all hear during campaigns for public office. Often, the phrase is used in jest.

But not this time.

It’s alarming, but it’s the truth.

It’s like we as Americans are at a cross road of sorts, with one way leading to a crazed cult leader comparable to Jim Jones and his followers, and the other way of rational thinking human beings. We have to vote, and as Natives the ballot box is our only hope of some kind of future for tribal sovereignty.

With so many Republican candidates being election deniers, these people will be in control of different county election offices nation wide.

Remember the violence of January 6, 2021? A good chunk of them, and/or their  sympathizers, are running for public office. Make American Great Again (MAGA) is a cult, a death cult that tried to murder Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, recently and threatened to hang Mike Pence outside of the Capitol. People who shouldn’t be in positions of power are seeking it this election year, and if they win it may spell the end of Democracy.

The fall of democracy means no more tribal sovereignty.

It’s true. I wish it wasn’t, but it could be the end of our rights as American citizens and the end of tribal sovereignty. These are people that cannot be trusted because they deny reality. In spite of the fact there was no evidence of so-called “voter fraud,” these people deny truth, going against logic and reason, just because Donald Trump won’t accept the truth.

This is going to usher in a dark time for Indigenous Americans.

All indigenous tribes in the United States are subject to the plenary powers of Congress. This means the federal government has ultimate power over indigenous tribes and with the passing of a law they could do away with federal recognition and take away our reservation.

In our history the federal government has been working to exterminate indigenous people through genocide. It includes mass murder, crimes against humanity (government policy murder and forced relocations), slavery, forced conversions to European religion. They took away food resources, forcing tribes to rely on government rations for survival. Then they forced us to accept their way of life. They made us worship their white Jesus, outlawed our traditional ways. They stole our children and forced them into boarding schools where they were beat them for speaking their mother tongue. All of this was done as part of an effort to destroy our culture.

It was fairly recently the government stopped their oppression of us and our ways. Progress. Small, but it’s there. Our reservations are trust status, meaning they are held by the federal government for Indian tribes. Federal 638 contracts provide us with the basic police and jail services, in addition to providing employment on the reservation.

Congress has not terminated indigenous tribes since the end of the termination era.

But if things keep going the way they are, this will come to an end.

The Supreme Court has a conservative majority, and they turned the clock back on progress when they reversed Roe v. Wade. This was a gigantic step backwards and it affects all women in our lives. Without regard to half of our population, it was overturned.

If they would do this, what would stop them from defunding Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs? What would stop them from doing away with our reservation?

Politics is the struggle for power. It is why elections can turn very heated; it’s the reason Trump won’t stop spreading election fraud lies; it’s the reason the United States Capitol was attacked January 6; it’s the reason the Supreme Court took away the woman right to choose.

It’s the reason the Montana Republican Party historically worked to suppress the Native American voters through legislation which makes voting difficult or impossible.

Historically, the states Native population voted Democrat in elections.

Under the guise of “voter integrity,” Republican efforts include redistricting reservations, ending same day registration, tribal identification rejection, and outlawing “ballot harvesting.”All of these laws were struck down by state and federal courts as voter suppression.

When legal efforts failed, GOP poll watchers would intimidate voters with their presence and actions (ie following voters to their cars writing down license plate numbers).

In spite of this, we got to the polls and voted. We need to keep up this momentum and vote in this next election, if not for us then for the next generation.

About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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