Racism is rife in the capital, she said. According to Snow, a lawmaker told a person testifying that “if you spent your food stamps better, you wouldn’t need (Indian Health Service).”
McLean, executive director of Western Native Voice, said the non-partisan organization is working to increase voter turnout on each of Montana’s seven reserves, with an organizer stationed in each and others in Billings. , Great Falls and Missoula.
“Our job in politics is to show that link” between voting and passing bills that are important to indigenous voters, she said.
McLean, who is 43, said she has only voted six times in her life.
“We are trying to partner with high schools and tribal colleges to talk about the power of the vote, especially in school board elections, which have lower turnout than other municipal elections,” she said. declared.
“We are grateful to the non-Indigenous allies,” she told the crowd. “Without you, we cannot accomplish what we want in as little time as possible.”
Next week, Western Native Voice will begin polling many of its 6,000 members, both those who vote regularly and those who don’t. According to McLean, the organization hopes to learn more about the barriers to voting and “who are the messengers in our communities.”