In 1789, the Naturalization Act granted the right to vote to property-owning and tax-paying white males, but it wasn’t until 1924 – 135 years later – that Native Americans were finally given the right to vote.
Ninety-six years later on the most consequential presidential election in our lifetime, untold thousands of Native Americans – U.S. citizens with the right to vote the same as all voting age Americans – remain severely disenfranchised for a multitude of reasons including long distances to polling sites, unreliable mail service, the lack of a street address, and more.
In 2019, the Native American Voting Rights Act (NAVRA) passed in the House of Representatives but the Senate has yet to act.
At Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, along with our co-founder and national spokesperson, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, have been advocating for the passage of NAVRA and earlier this year encouraged all eligible Native Americans to register and vote in this year’s election.
As Billy notes through his “Natives Vote” T-shirt: voting is “Honoring Our Ancestors, Protecting Our Descendants.”
“With your support we made sure as many Native Americans could exercise their right to vote as possible, a justice which has been denied before but is very important to defend with NAVRA,” said Billy. “Let’s go!”