How Native youth can help increase voter turnout among tribal communities

Here’s why a push for greater Native representation at the polls, ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, matters: “We are powerful in numbers.”

Video Transcript

ALLIE REDHORSE YOUNG: The native community faces incredible challenges when it comes to voting, and I think for the rest of the country, it's hard to comprehend. But come to a reservation, come to our rural communities, where you can see just how hard it is to even get to a polling location, to get to where ballot drop boxes are because of the distance.


Hi. I'm Allie Redhorse Young. I'm here with In the Know at the MAKERS Conference.

I am Diné. I'm a storyteller, and I'm an advocate for my community. Protect the Sacred focuses on Native youth leadership development, and it's about empowering the next seven generations of Native youth using transformative storytelling. We're now in 2022, ahead of the midterm elections, and we're encouraging and empowering our youth to make sure that all of our people get to the polls, because we are powerful in numbers.

When we show up to vote, we can reclaim our power. We can reclaim our land, our streets, our voices, our future. When we show up to vote, we are investing in those changes, and those changes that will benefit our communities, because we need to continue fighting. We need to continue advocating for what we deserve.

Last summer, in 2021, I was invited to the White House by the Vice President, Kamala Harris, and I had the opportunity to sit with other Native leaders on voting rights and had that exact discussion. What are some solutions? And I said, we have the solutions. So why not work with tribal communities and tap into that infrastructure that brings our people out to vote?

Our young people can get involved at even a very early age, and the way that they get involved is around awareness, encouraging those who are of voting age and their elders to get out to vote for them. That's really what we're doing. When we get out to vote and when? We tell our communities to go out to vote, we're not saying that everything is going to change the next day or after-- the day after the election. It's about investment.

And when we show up, in the long run, we can see that change, but we have to show up. And our young people can help us get the word out. They can create content that's educating on this topic, and hopefully that brings resources and funding to continue this work because that's really what it comes down to.