National Indian Gaming Association “My Vote Will Count” Campaign
Washington, D.C. – September 14, 2020 – As the nation nears the upcoming 2020 elections, on November 3rd, National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., has been working on outreach to tribal communities to promote the importance of the Native American vote.
To promote the Indian Gaming “My Vote Will Count” initiative, Stevens visited with Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indian tribal council at the tribal headquarters in Bowler, Wisconsin.
During this visit, both Stevens and Holsey shared the importance of the Indian Country vote, sharing that native issues’ prevalence during this election goes well beyond one setting and one story.
Holsey shared, “With the heightened political participation of Native people, Indian Country has become an increasingly powerful voting bloc. In recent years, the Native vote has been publicly acknowledged as making a pivotal difference in national, state, and local elections. Voting is a right which was not always afforded Native American’s and something that is not only our civic responsibility but should be considered a sacred exercise of democracy.”
“Representation matters. I believe this is going to be one of the most critical elections in our lifetimes long-standing, systemic issues that underpin differences in our communities.” Holsey added, “Native American voters and communities now form a vital part of the demographic forces reshaping American politics and discourse in key areas. We need representation and allies to ensure that we can advance Indian Country’s most pressing priorities.”
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “I am inspired by the urgency of Native America to educate and ensure a clear understanding of tribal government gaming and tribal sovereignty overall. I believe the leadership and the communities they represent are the true educators. Before, during and immediately after the 2020 election will be key educational opportunities. We must be loud and proud, yet respectful and diligent in our educational endeavors.”
Stevens added, “These outreach events are a golden opportunity to educate our young citizens about the importance of becoming involved in the voting process. It also helps them understand and appreciate more about our Indian Country history, democracy and outreach. Our young vote has the potential to be extremely influential in this country.”
In October 2019, the National Indian Gaming Association announced the creation of the gaming organizations Get Out the Vote campaign – “My Vote Will Count,” leading up to the 2020 General Elections in November of 2020.
The National Indian Gaming Association developed this grassroots effort with partners, including Member Tribes, sister tribal organizations, and prominent events throughout Indian Country to educate, empower, and encourage all Native Americans to register to vote and commit to getting to the polls.
The grassroots efforts were forced to take a different path, with the impacts of COVID-19. Because many of our Indian country events and confabs were canceled, the “My Vote Will Count” initiative will look to all aspects of social media platforms as well as some outreach options with limited travel to encourage our young voters to vote.
Stevens also visited with the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Council in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. In the photo (L-R) Chairman Stevens, Joseph Wildcat, Jr., President, Gloria Cobb, Economic Support Director and Jerome “Brooks” Big Johns, Councilman
Stevens shared, “Right now, we are sticking mostly to traveling to local areas of Wisconsin and are slowly expanding our travel to surrounding States.” Chairman Stevens emphasized that all social distancing and safety precautions prioritize his travels to promote the vote.
One of the popular Native Vote give away items provided by the National Indian Gaming Association is the “United Vote 2020 T-shirts.” Stevens said, “We’ve been able to deliver a limited number of t-shirts. They are delivered in sanitized and sealed boxes to tribes who are hosting their get out the vote initiatives.”
Stevens joins President Holsey, Vice President Jolene Bowman and Councilman Martin Welch
Stevens out front of the beautiful North Star Casino in. with Gaming Commissioner Tony Granquist in Bowler, WI