Native American tribes are becoming a political key player in next year’s presidential election. Shoshone Bannock Tribes are preparing by initiating voter participation for young and old.
“We haven’t seen much advocacy for the Native American tribes, and definitely the outreach and education now is gearing up for 2020,” the public affairs manager for Shoshone Bannock Tribes Randy’L Teton said.
Nine 2020 Democratic candidates attended the Native American Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, to discuss issues pertaining to many tribes across the U.S., that sentiment resonating with Shoshone Bannock Tribes.
“We’re tasked with the native vote, so when it comes to state, federal or even tribal, we assist in getting the outreach and communication,” Teton said.
There are various issues native tribes want to be addressed. Among those are Native American health care services, reservation criminal justice reform and treaty rights, which are considered underfunded among many tribes.
“We have over 7,000 tribal members here in Fort Hall. My goal is to get at least all 5,000-plus to vote,” Teton said.
Shoshone Bannock, along with more than 500 other tribes in the U.S., is watching the race closely, identifying candidates who will push Native American initiatives.
“Our Fort Hall Business Council is at the level of making decisions for the tribe and considering everything that that candidate has done for the state of Idaho or for the tribes,” Teton said.
“Native Americans, especially the ones on reservations, are considered hard to count,” said Denell Broncho, who is a Shoshone Bannock Census Committee member.
“If we don’t count all of our citizens, then we are missing some of that apportionment because we’re not going to be within the districts that determine voting polls,” Broncho said.
Therefore, Shoshone Bannock tribes are working hard now to develop a strong census outreach to get all tribal members counted.
In 2016, residents in Fort Hall were unsure about their district voting poll in 2016 elections. They hope to identify voting polls, notify tribal members and get a larger voter turnout for 2020.