Efforts Both Non-Partisan and Partisan in Progress to Increase Native American Voting in Wisconsin

Native American (Credits: WXPR)

Wisconsin is gearing up for its presidential primary and various local elections, presenting a pivotal opportunity for voter mobilization efforts, including a campaign to increase Native American voter participation.

The Wisconsin Native Vote initiative launched its campaign with a special ceremony in Milwaukee, spotlighting the Indigenous population’s importance in the area.

Daniel Preston led a prayer at the event, followed by a tribal honor song, resonating with the attendees through his voice and hand drum. A highlight was disclosing a mural on the north side of the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center.

Created by Christopher Sweet, a Ho-Chunk Nation artist, the mural depicts a woman in a jingle dress alongside seven children under the message “Vote for Our 7th Generation.” Sweet reflected on the importance of every election, emphasizing the need to consider the well-being of future generations in current decisions.

Voting in Progress (Credits: Human Rights Watch)

Anne Egan-Waukau from Wisconsin Native Vote, belonging to the Menominee Nation, shared a strong interest in the upcoming elections within the community, driven by concerns over climate change and environmental protection. She recounted instances of enthusiasm from young people eager to engage in the voting process once they were eligible.

Efforts to register new voters are in motion, including collaborations with Milwaukee Public Schools to engage 18-year-old students. With approximately 70,000 Native Americans of voting age in Wisconsin and recent presidential elections decided by narrow margins, the significance of these efforts is clear.

The campaign by Wisconsin Native Vote is strictly non-partisan. However, the Biden/Harris team views its efforts to boost Native American voting as potentially advantageous.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who was visiting Wisconsin personally, encouraged support for President Joe Biden in Sheboygan and other locations. She highlighted her unique position as the first Native American Cabinet member and her appeal among tribal communities.

Native Americans (Credits: People)

Gracie Waukechon, a Menominee college student, expressed enthusiasm for Haaland’s involvement, noting the positive impact of having a Native American voice in such a high position.

The upcoming presidential election sees both parties reaching out to Native American voters, with President Trump also campaigning in regions with significant Native populations.

National efforts reflect this focus, with Republicans and Democrats emphasizing issues like education, job creation, and community safety to appeal to tribal members. Wisconsin is one of the states where the Native American vote could be particularly influential in determining the election outcome.