RECLAIMING Their VOICE: The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond
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While I was making the film STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote, one of the stories I followed was about irregularities in New Mexico during the 2004 Presidential election. The final tallies in New Mexico were controversial. Complaints ranged from people voting for "Kerry" and seeing "Bush" appear on the touch screens, to huge discrepancies between how many people voted and how many votes were tallied. In addition, people in New Mexico reported ongoing disenfranchisement of Native American voters, with those problems reaching a crescendo in the 2004 Presidential election.
Voting rights advocates suggested I introduce myself to the Laguna tribe. Their story encapsulated some of the most egregious examples of voting problems in New Mexico, as well as across the country in 2004.
I followed the Laguna story through 2010, weaving together the problems they'd faced with growing activism among tribal members.
While documenting that story, I learned about another group of Native people who had, in recent years, fought to preserve the Sacred Petroglyphs in Albuquerque. They tried to use voting to further their cause, but that effort met with various difficulties. I decided to put these two stories together. Juxtaposed, they reveal multiple facets of both disenfranchisement and mushrooming activism among Native People.
• Native Vote: A national non-partisan effort to mobilize the American Indian and Alaska Native vote, is an initiative of NCAI.
• United Native America: Information for getting out the Native American vote.
• Voting Rights Act Timeline
• Providing Electoral Information to Native Americans in
• The Department of Justice (about Native Americans)
• Voting Rights in Indian Country
• How did the Native Americans finally acquire citizenship?
• Study Guide: Voter Action Guide
Native people around the world are stepping forward and speaking out against injustice. RECLAIMING Their VOICE: The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond begins by documenting the American Indian suffrage movement historically. The film then follows two groundbreaking projects in New Mexico. One focuses on the creation of the Native American Voters Alliance and their efforts to protect Sacred Land. The other is a call to increase voter participation, led by members of the Laguna, NM Native Pueblo. Viewers can see how Laguna’s Voter 500 Project leads to changes in New Mexico state election law. Both stories serve as models for how disenfranchised minority populations can work together to have an impact as these groups in New Mexico are taking action through the political process. Their work reflects a microcosm of growing awareness among minority populations taking root across the United States. Personal stories demonstrate how American Indian communities are participating more fully in decisions that will affect their lives.
“... both heartbreaking and eye opening. A 'must see' to understand how fragile our democracy is”
KVOT Taos, NM
“Emotions run deep when viewing this insightful political documentary. The story blends sincere efforts to achieve political clout with unfortunate results that, somehow, do not shut down the hopes of Native voters in New Mexico.”
ROBIN H. LEVIN
Fort Washakie School/Community Librarian, Wyoming
“This film weaves together two documentary stories: each drama moves from
disenfranchisement to realization to taking action. Interviews include people from Laguna, Acoma, Taos, Ohkay Owingeh, the Navajo nation.plus Chicano/a voices and more. The story is woven artistically and succinctly-in less than one hour.”
KUNM-TV Albuquerque, New Mexico