Native Americans Flipped Arizona, so Trump Vindictively Steals Their Land…Again
American history is fraught with issues surrounding voting rights, and now Native Americans across the country are facing retaliation for expressing their First Amendment rights. Some readers may have come across a meme of this tweet:
With a lot of talk about Native voting in Arizona. I thought I would share 2 maps. The left is a map showcasing all 22 tribes in the state. The right an updated 2020 voting results maps by precinct. This give you an idea of how Indigenous communities voted in the 2020 election. pic.twitter.com/scrWENDVO2
— Shondiin Silversmith⁷ (@DiinSilversmith) November 6, 2020
The tweet does go far to show just how important Native voters are, despite continually being ignored by both parties. What it doesn’t show, unfortunately, is just how much effort it took for Native tribes and communities to pull off the first blue win in Arizona since 1996. In 2016, three years after sections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were repealed by Conservative Justices, Native Americans were faced with voter registration issues such as an inability to put a physical address.
Many Natives in reservations live on land off of country roads with no names. They receive their mail via P.O.Box, but after 2013, voter registration required physical addresses to specifically disenfranchise non-white and poor voters. This was then compounded by the pandemic, which had become mail-in-ballot centric.
Navajo, Hopi, Apache, White Mountain Apache, and others joined in a cooridnated effort, much like Latino leaders in Tucson and Phoenix. Progressive leaders in liberal groups helped raise nearly $450,000 to aid in grassroot campaigning efforts. The Biden Campaign however, did not contribute much, despite raising nearly $1,000,000,000. It’s even stated that the Native Democrats had a hard time acquiring Biden/Harris signs, the implication being that it was because they were seen as a low priority.
Biden has a history of not caring about Native Americans. The extreme mishandling of the Standing Rock protests, and Native Americans being tear gassed a week before Thanksgiving would make for a good singular example. But, hopefully with enough pressure, this administration can start turning the trend on Indigenous/US relations.
Of course, Trump is going to make things worse first.
Anyway, it’s no secret that Trump hates Native Americans. It’s odd that it’s mainly because they have better casinos. He expanded on his disdain for Native Americans by constructing the border wall, bulldozing sacred sites to erect an easily climbable wall. In Utah, Trump reduced the size of the newly designated protected land at Bears Ears National Monument. But now, they made him a loser on the national stage, and he’s pissed.
In Arizona, Trump is currently trying to give the Apache sacred praying grounds of Oak Flat to mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP. The land in question has been sought after by industry leaders since 1995, when it was discovered that it was on top of what may be the largest copper deposit in the world. Indigenous and environmental groups have fought many legal battles in order to keep the land a part of the National Register of Historic Places.
Project Director of Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, Andrew Lye stated, “Resolution Copper would welcome the opportunity for more collaborative dialogue with the San Carlos Apache tribe…for ways to partner for mutual benefit.” Which if you are unfamiliar with corporate double-speak, they mean to say that they wish the Natives would just sell, but it doesn’t matter because Republicans will do anything to make this happen.
Right now, the main obstacle for the transaction to take place is that of the Forest Service. Luckily, they’re a well funded and important part of our country, right? Oh fuck.