The Spokesman-Review

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Native Americans, please vote

Please vote, Native Americans.

I want to emphasize to all Native Americans, like myself, that it is important to vote for Obama in November, the best choice for the needs of our people. But it’s also important to take an interest in, and vote in, all races. It has taken a long time for us to gain the right to vote and we should cherish it.

We did not get to vote and become U.S. citizens until 1924. Many states continued to prohibit Indians from voting: Arizona and New Mexico did not allow Indians to vote until 1948, and Utah was the last state to grant the right, in 1956. When analyzed, the reasons for the delay all appear discriminatory. Even today, people complain because income from our reservations is not taxable, or because we win court settlements for government mismanagement. Of course, they overlook the fact that virtually every dollar is spent locally, with sales tax being paid.

We are all part of the communities surrounding us, and we need to use our voting rights to make sure that good choices are made for all the officials elected. Your vote counts.

Ruth M. Wapato


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