Non-profit

Native Vote

Website:

nativevote.org/

President/CEO:

Fawn Sharp, Native Vote Ambassador

Formation:

1944

Type:

Voter Engagement Initiative of National Congress of American Indians

Not to be confused with Natives Vote, a project of IllumiNative and Native Organizers Alliance.

Native Vote is a Native American activism and grantmaking initiative run by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). [1] [2] [3] NCAI has worked on Native American voting issues since its formation in 1944.[4]

Native Vote engages voter registration and turnout efforts, election and voter awareness and advocacy, and voter and candidate education in Native American communities. Native Voter has also supported expanding tribal access to data and conducted U.S. Census-related activities.[5] [6] Native Vote’s organization is divided into eight different regions covering all 50 states.[7]

In 2020, NCAI partnered with left-of-center organizations including Four Directions, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), the Election Protection Coalition, and IllumiNative on various Native Vote projects.[8] [9] [10] In 2019, NCAI Fund earmarked $1,674,927, including $234,587 in grants, to programs which included Native Vote.[11] In the past, NCAI has received funding for Native Vote from UnidosUS (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza) and the Agua Fund, an environmentalist grantmaking organization. [12]  [13]

As a part of the virtual Native Vote “Taking Action in 2020 Rally,” Tara Houska, former director of Honor the Earth and former Native American Affairs advisor for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), stated that American systems “have a foundation in genocide and slavery.’ [14] [15] [16]

History and Leadership

Native Vote has been a part of National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) since the Congress’s inaugural convention in 1944 and played a role in litigation in Arizona and New Mexico regarding Native American voting rights in the 1940s. [17]  [18]

Since 2004, Native Vote has worked in conjunction with tribes and other local communities to increase Native American voter turnout in national and state elections.[19]

Fawn Sharp is Native Vote’s official ambassador. She is also the president of NCAI.[20]

Activities and Funding

Native Vote engages in voter turnout and registration efforts, election advocacy, voter and candidate education, tribal data initiatives, and activities related to the U.S. Census. [21] [22] Native Vote’s organization is divided into eight different regions covering all 50 states.[23]

Native Vote coordinators work as liaisons between the NCAI and local Native American voters.[24] Native Vote has partnered with other left-of-center Native American organizations, such as the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), at the state level. [25] In 2020, Native Vote sent 60 observers to polling sites on or near tribal land in Arizona.[26]

In a Facebook post on November 4, 2020, Native Vote thanked their coordinators, allies, and advocates for “ensuring Native votes were heard in the 2020 General Election.”[27] Individuals in these photos were wearing apparel from left-of-center Natives Vote, a joint project of the left-of-center Native Organizers Alliance and IllumiNative. [28]

In order to support local Native Vote initiatives in the 2020 election cycle, NCAI issued small community grants for different projects that were limited to $2,000 per tribal organization. [29] [30] Native Vote’s website listed “ordering Native Vote merchandise for tribal nations/communities” as one of the possible activities that could be funded with these grants. [31] [32] Many tribal organizations supported the purchase of Native Vote’s official t-shirts during the 2020 election cycle. The Nevada Native Vote Project told individuals to “go vote and swing by and score an awesome shirt” while posting a photo of one of NCAI’s Native Vote shirts on its Facebook page with compliments to NCAI, the Native Organizers Alliance, and All Voting is Local.[33] These shirts are available for sale on a direct bulk order link from Native Vote’s website. [34]

Prior to the 2020 election, NCAI released the Native Vote Report,[35] a Native Vote Candidates Profile,[36] and a Native Vote Election Day plan.[37] Native Vote produced a voter guide with the help of the left-of-center Nonprofit VOTE explicitly outlining how Native Vote coordinators can remain “nonpartisan.” The guide also advised on how to host candidate forums, conduct voter registration, and run operations on Election Day.[38] The far-left activist group Radicalize the Vote  lists NCAI as one of its coalition partners and links visitors to the Native Vote Tool Kit. [39] [40]

One week before the 2020 election, NCAI sponsored an event with the left-of-center IllumiNative and the Phoenix Indian Center which gave out “voter kits” containing t-shirts, masks, gloves, wipes, and Indian Center brochures in an effort to encourage voter turnout.[41]

Native Vote’s website directed voters to use the left-of-center Election Protection Coalition’s “crisis line” on Election Day to report problems at polls, asking individuals to report incidents of voting irregularities to the left-of-center Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ).[42] The site also hosts a video discussion on Native American voters uploaded by the left-of-center W.K. Kellogg Foundation.[43]

In October 2020, Native Vote hosted a screening of “All In – The Fight for Democracy,” a documentary about alleged voter suppression. The left-of-center Four Directions and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) also sponsored the event.[44]

On May 28, 2020, Native Vote hosted the Taking Action in 2020 Rally to emphasize the importance of the 2020 U.S. Census and 2020 election.[45] The event featured speeches by NCAI president Fawn Sharp and then-U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM); prerecorded remarks from U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK);[46] and representatives from the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), Four Directions,[47] and the Center for Native American Youth.[48] In her remarks, then-Rep. Haaland advocated against “terrible voting laws,” including a North Dakota law requiring tribal members to provide a street address for voting.[49]

As a part of the same webinar, former Honor the Earth director and Native American affairs advisor to far-left U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Tara Houska claimed that American systems “have a foundation in genocide and slavery. [50] [51] [52]

Census Activities

Native Vote played an active role in the 2020 U.S. Census. NCAI’s civic engagement team used Native Vote and Indian Country Counts for its Taking Action in 2020 campaign.[53]

In 2010, NCAI ran a similar Census outreach campaign, working alongside the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), the National Council of La Raza, and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC).[54]

Funding

Native Vote has received millions of dollars of funding from NCAI since 2016. In 2019, NCAI reported expenses of $1,674,927, including $234,587 in grants, to programs which included the Native Vote designation.[55] In 2018, NCAI reported expenses of $2,506,656 on projects that included the Native Vote name in their descriptions.[56] NCAI recorded $1,104,768 of expenses related to Native Vote in 2017,[57]  and $2,718,627 of expenses on projects which included “Native Vote” in 2016.[58]

In 2018, UnidosUS (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza) issued a grant of $92,042 to NCAI.[59] The environmentalist grantmaking organization the Agua Fund supports many of NCAI’s Native Vote initiatives.[60]

References

  1. “Tribal Community Sub-Grants.” Native Vote. Accessed April 30, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/tribal-community-sub-grants/ ^
  2. Native Vote Twitter About Section. Native Vote Twitter. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://twitter.com/nativevote?lang=en. ^
  3. “Native Vote.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/initiatives/native-vote. ^
  4. “2018-2019 Annual Report.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/attachments/PolicyPaper_MkLCOAtWAiReDYipbqCpUULYAVZzOddwRYTwGWMGstprgCiMAMO_NCAI_18-19AR.pdf. ^
  5. “Native Vote.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/initiatives/native-vote. ^
  6. “Taking Action in 2020: National Voter Registration Day.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp: 12:30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7LdpscSP9I. ^
  7. “Native Vote Local.” Native Vote Project. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/native-vote-local/. ^
  8. Tweet. Native Vote official twitter. October 23, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://twitter.com/nativevote/status/1319731583235072000. ^
  9. “Election Protection.” Nativevote.org. Accessed April 28, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/election-protection/. ^
  10. Krol, Debra Utacia. “Protecting the Native vote: How Election Day played out in Indian Country.” Arizona Central. November 7, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/protecting-the-native-vote-how-election-day-played-out-in-indian-country/ar-BB1aL6Oz. ^
  11. “National Congress of American Indians Fund.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/860212873/10_2020_prefixes_84-91%2F860212873_201909_990_2020100817362299. ^
  12. “UnidosUS.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/860212873/10_2020_prefixes_84-91%2F860212873_201909_990_2020100817362299. ^
  13. “2018-2019 Annual Report.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/attachments/PolicyPaper_MkLCOAtWAiReDYipbqCpUULYAVZzOddwRYTwGWMGstprgCiMAMO_NCAI_18-19AR.pdf. ^
  14. Barnett, Erin Hoover. “Tara Houska, tribal attorney and climate activist, reframes the narrative to achieve environmental justice.” Oregon Health and Science University. February 7, 2020. https://news.ohsu.edu/2020/02/07/tara-houska-tribal-attorney-and-climate-activist-reframes-the-narrative-to-achieve-environmental-justice. ^
  15. “Tara Houska.” TED Talk Biography. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://www.ted.com/speakers/tara_houska. ^
  16. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp 1:18:00. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu8oC3w1was&t=56s. ^
  17. “Taking Action in 2020: National Voter Registration Day.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp: 12:30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7LdpscSP9I. ^
  18. “2018-2019 Annual Report.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/attachments/PolicyPaper_MkLCOAtWAiReDYipbqCpUULYAVZzOddwRYTwGWMGstprgCiMAMO_NCAI_18-19AR.pdf. ^
  19. “Native Vote – Election Protection 2016 Election Report.” Indian Legal Clinic Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Arizona State University. March 6, 2018. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://law.asu.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/2016-native-vote-election-protection-report.pdf. ^
  20. “Taking Action in 2020: National Voter Registration Day.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp: 5:42. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7LdpscSP9I. ^
  21. “Native Vote.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/initiatives/native-vote. ^
  22. “Taking Action in 2020: National Voter Registration Day.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp: 12:30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7LdpscSP9I. ^
  23. “Native Vote Local.” Native Vote Project. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/native-vote-local/. ^
  24. “Become a Native Vote Coordinator.” Native Vote Project Website. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/ ^
  25. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” Time Stamp 1:07:15. National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXBlNBFNOo. ^
  26. Fonseca, Felicia and Kastanis, Angeliki. “Arizona turnour proves power of Native vote.” The Associated Press. November 20, 2020. https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/arizona-turnout-proves-power-of-native-vote. ^
  27. Facebook Post. Native Vote Facebook Page. November 4, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/nativevote/posts/3585889821432624. ^
  28. Facebook Post. Natives Vote Facebook Page. November 4, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/nativevote/photos/pcb.3585889821432624/3585887791432827/?type=3&theater. ^
  29. National Congress of American Indians. Twitter Post. June 23, 2020. Accessed via Web Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20200623232825/https://twitter.com/NCAI1944/status/1275570432318595073 ^
  30. “Tribal Community Sub-Grants.” Native Vote Project. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/tribal-community-sub-grants/. ^
  31. “Tribal Community Sub-Grants.” Native Vote Project. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/tribal-community-sub-grants/. ^
  32. “Tribal Community Sub-Grants.” Native Vote Project. Accessed May 6, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/tribal-community-sub-grants/. ^
  33. “It’s going down at Fox Peak. Go Vote and swing by and score an awesome shirt, and an Indian Taco. Compliments of NNVP, NCAI, NOA, and All Voting is Local.” Nevada Native Vote Project Facebook Post. November 3, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/nvnativevote/photos/125820189298787. ^
  34. Native Vote T-shirts. Adproweb.com. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://526352-h4o.logoshop.com/. ^
  35. “Policy Research Update: Native Vote Report: 2020 Election Results.” National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center. December 15, 2020. Accessed April 29, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/policy-research-center/research-data/prc-publications/NCAI_Native_Vote_Results_Report_12_15_2020_FINAL.pdf. ^
  36. “2020 Native Vote Candidates.” NativeVote.org. October 2020. Accessed April 28, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/NCAI-Native-Vote-Candidate-Profiles-Complete-Print-1.pdf. ^
  37. “Make Your Plan to Vote!” NativeVote.org. Accessed April 28, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/NCAI-Voting-202.pdf. ^
  38. “Native Vote Toolkit.” August 2019. National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 28, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Native-Vote-Toolkit-8-2019.pdf. ^
  39. “Coalition Partners.” Radicalize the Vote. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://www.radicalizethevote.org/. ^
  40. “Native Vote Tool Kit & Government 101 Provided by NCAI.” Radicalize the Vote. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://www.radicalizethevote.org/ncai. ^
  41. Krol, Debra Utacia. “Protecting the Native vote: How Election Day played out in Indian Country.” Arizona Central. November 7, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/protecting-the-native-vote-how-election-day-played-out-in-indian-country/ar-BB1aL6Oz. ^
  42. “Election Protection.” Nativevote.org. Accessed April 28, 2021. http://www.nativevote.org/about/election-protection/. ^
  43. “2020 Native Vote Videos.” Native Vote website. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/w-k-kellogg-foundation/. ^
  44. Tweet. Native Vote official twitter. October 23, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://twitter.com/nativevote/status/1319731583235072000. ^
  45. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXBlNBFNOo. ^
  46. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” Time Stamp 30:57. National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXBlNBFNOo. ^
  47. “Native Vote Taking Action in 2020 Rally.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. May 28, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu8oC3w1was. ^
  48. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” Time Stamp 1:09:04. National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXBlNBFNOo. ^
  49. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” Time Stamp 30:57. National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXBlNBFNOo. ^
  50. Barnett, Erin Hoover. “Tara Houska, tribal attorney and climate activist, reframes the narrative to achieve environmental justice.” Oregon Health and Science University. February 7, 2020. https://news.ohsu.edu/2020/02/07/tara-houska-tribal-attorney-and-climate-activist-reframes-the-narrative-to-achieve-environmental-justice. ^
  51. “NCAI: Taking Action in 2020.” National Congress of American Indians YouTube Channel. Time stamp 1:18:00. June 12, 2020. Accessed April 28, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu8oC3w1was&t=56s. ^
  52. “Tara Houska.” TED Talk Biography. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://www.ted.com/speakers/tara_houska. ^
  53. Allen, Yawna. “Indian Country Counts and Native Vote: Taking Action in 2020.” National Congress of American Indians Blog Post. 2020. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/BLOG_Taking_Action_in_2020.pdf. ^
  54. “Past Projects.” NCAI Policy Research Center. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/policy-research-center/initiatives/projects/past-projects. ^
  55. “National Congress of American Indians Fund.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/860212873/10_2020_prefixes_84-91%2F860212873_201909_990_2020100817362299. ^
  56. ‘National Congress of American Indians.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/536017907/202011259349301411/full. ^
  57. “National Congress of American Indians.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/536017907/201833199349317048/full. ^
  58. “National Congress of American Indians.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/536017907/201833199349317048/full. ^
  59. “UnidosUS.” Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/860212873/10_2020_prefixes_84-91%2F860212873_201909_990_2020100817362299. ^
  60. “2018-2019 Annual Report.” National Congress of American Indians. Accessed April 30, 2021. https://www.ncai.org/attachments/PolicyPaper_MkLCOAtWAiReDYipbqCpUULYAVZzOddwRYTwGWMGstprgCiMAMO_NCAI_18-19AR.pdf. ^
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